By: Kebba AF Touray
The Minister of Justice, Aboubacar Tambedou, yesterday presented the Constitutional Review Commission Bill 2017 before Lawmakers, for consideration and adoption.
During the presentation, the Minister said the objects and reasons for the Bill, is that the present constitution has undergone numerous amendments since its promulgation which has necessitated its review at this time to ensure certainty and a better streamlining of content.
He said a constitution is the fundamental instrument of any country that is designed to ensure proper separation of powers in relation to the three arms of Government; defines the fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens and others and establishes key institutions to generally aid the administration of good governance.
‘‘In order to ensure a proper and comprehensive review of the Second Republican Constitution, this Bill proposes the establishment of the Constitutional Review Commission, to be made up of prominent Gambians with the appropriate educational qualification and experience. If the Bill is approved, the Commission is expected to consult as wide as possible, the general public of Gambian citizens both at home and abroad, as well as professional, political, civic and similar organizations”, he said.
He revealed that the primary responsibility of the Commission will be to draft a new Constitution for the country and will prepare a report on the draft Constitution by outlining its work and providing a better insight into the Commission through adoption of specific provisions of the draft Constitution. He disclosed that the ultimate objective of the Bill is to create the necessary legal platform for the development of a well-researched modern constitution, that will serve the country for a considerable period and thus for the current and future generations. “The hope is that such Constitution will usher in the Third Republic for the Gambia”, said Tambadou.
The Minister added that the functions of the Commission as enshrined in section six subsection 2 of the draft Bill, the commission shall seek public opinion and carry out proposals as it consider appropriate; that it shall adhere to national values and safeguard and promote the following: the existence of The Gambia as a sovereign independent state; The Gambia’s’ Republican system of governance including its democratic values and respect for and promotion of the rule of law and fundamental rights and freedoms; the separation of powers including the independence of the judiciary, national unity cohesion and peace; the importance of ensuring periodic democratic elections based on universal adult suffrage; the introduction of a term limit for serving the office of the president; The Gambia’s continuous existence as secular state, in which all faiths are treated equally and to encourage and foster national cohesion and unity.
“I therefore beg to move that the Bill Entitled ‘The Constitutional Review Commission Bill 2017’, be read the second time.”