By Mustapha Jallow
Senior staff of the Constructional Review Commission (CRC), in partnership with National Council for Civic Education (NCCE), on Wednesday November 7th, concluded an intensive nationwide campaign to sensitise and educate Gambians on the Constitutional review and making process.
Members of the CRC/NCCE as many communities as possible, with the messages, to make them understand the proposals put forward and how it will impact on their lives. Such will help them to make choices on the proposals for constitutional amendments that should be voted into as the New Constitution of the country.
Speaking at Mamud Fana village, Sering Faye the Chairperson of NCCE, explained the complexities of the current citizenship laws in the current Constitution of the country; that if a child is born in the country and their parents are Gambians, the child is a citizen of the country; but that if the two parents of the child are Gambians and the children are born in another country, those children are still Gambians as well. However Sering explained that foreigners who have their children born in the Gambia, cannot be called citizens, according to the present Constitution.
He asked members of the community to give their answers to the CRC on whether those children born to foreigners and have their education in the country, should be allowed citizenship.
Sering ask residents of Mamud Fana whether there should be term limit to the presidency or want the status quo to be maintained in the new Constitution; that all their answers should be submitted to members of the CRC, who will be visiting them soon. He told them that the Constitution belongs to the citizenry; that whatever they want included in the new Constitution should come from them.
On Area Councils, Sering explained: “You pay your tax to your Councils and these monies should be returned to you in the form of development projects or otherwise. My question to you is whether Area Councils should be empowered that whatever they earn, should return to the people by constructing roads, and bringing water and other social amenities. You should look into this and share your ideas with the Commissioners,’’ he said.
Sering told them that some documents will be shared with communities to give them a clue on the Constitutional review process; that the Constitution should be owned, respected and defended by them, against anyone who wants to destroy it.
“Before the Constitution becomes Law, your views or ideas has to be listen to and collected and drafted, and then submitted to the president for referendum on its approval,’’ he said
The Alkalo of Mamud Fana Alagie Babacarr Seck, applauded the initiative of the CRC/NCCE and thanked the women for their large turn-out. He urged the women not to leave it to the men because they have so many issues to raise that affects their status and wellbeing as women.
“No one can speak on your behalf. So use the opportunity and take ownership by contributing to the CRC, when they arrive,’’ he told women of the village