By Nelson Manneh Reporting from Janjanbureh CRR
As the delegation of the Constitution Review Commission (CRC), continues to engage and seek the opinions of Gambian citizens on the formulation of the Constitution for the country, people in Janjangbureh are of the opinion that political parties in the Gambia, should be given subvention to run their party’s affairs, because they are a government in waiting. The people of Janjangbureh made their contributions known to the CRC on Saturday November 24th 2018, in the second leg of their nationwide consultation meeting and discussion with citizens on what they want to reflect in the upcoming new Constitution.
Commissioner Justice Cherno Jallow, said the opportunity given to citizens to make their contributions towards the making of a new Constitution for the country should be put into good use; that the Commissioners could have sat down in Banjul and write the Constitution that will govern them; but that they deem it necessary to engage the people for them to also take part in designing the new Constitution, which is for everyone.
“The reason for this tour is to make sure that citizens are part of the exercise. The Constitution is the supreme Law of the land. We want it to capture the ideas of the citizens,” he said.
Justice Jallow outlined some of the key points that he said, should be put into consideration by the citizens when designing the Laws. Jallow said people should look at who and what a citizen should be and how they should be categorized, and look at the establishment of among others, the Health Services Commission, Teaching Services Commission and Agriculture Commission. “Should prisoners vote, should the Diaspora vote, should there be term limit to the presidency, etc., were some of the pertinent questions Commissioner Jallow asked the people of Janjangbureh. He urged them to speak their mind without fear or favour.
“The election of the Gambia is based on simple majority. Do you want it to be changed or not? What about the qualification of the president. Should he or she be a grade twelve graduate or a degree holder,” he asked.
One Yorro Mballow of Fula-Bantang, said most foreigners want to be citizens of the country; that therefore it should be categorized but no one should be deprived from being a citizen, if he or she has all the requirements of becoming one. “A panel should be established to guide the president on appointing some sensitive positions in the civil service sector,” he said. Mballow said all political parties should have representatives at the Independent Electoral Commissioners office (IEC); that the IEC Chairperson, Chiefs and Alkalos, should not be appointed or dismissed by the president.
Momodou Jallow, a student, said the new Constitution should make provision for citizens in the Diaspora to vote. “At least a two-term limit of five years each, should be put in the new Constitution. For one to contest for the presidency, one should be at leat forty years and above, because maturity counts in anything one does,” he said.
Ramatoulie Njie, also a student, said the new Constitution should make provision for prisoners to vote; that they have the right to be part of the decision-making process, especially when it comes to presidential elections. “Despite breaking the law, they should be given the chance to vote. The Chief Justice and the Judges should not be appointed by the president but a well-established panel and we want our Chief Justice to be a Gambian,” she said.
Anta Jobarteh of Janjanbureh said women positions should be filled by women and should not be by representation.
“We should not be represented. The Minister of Women’s Affairs should be female. We want the women to have at least 30% representation in the National Assembly,” she said.
The CRC on Sunday November 25th 2018, continues to engage the people of Gambisra and Basse.