Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Should There Be A Constitutional Review Commission Or A New Constitution Drafting Commission?


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According to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, a new Constitution could be drafted and promulgated to replace the 1997 Constitution without overthrowing it. According to Halifa Sallah the reason why it was possible to draft a new Constitution in 1996, is because the 1970 constitution was overthrown and its Supremacy suspended. He however pointed out that the 1997 Constitution is not overthrown and the Supremacy of its provisions is not suspended. Hence no Act could bring into force any authority to scrap it. It could only be changed by relying on the provisions it had laid down for the amendment of the entrenched provisions through referendum and those that are not entrenched through the passing of bills designed for their amendment.

Hence the duty of any Constitutional Review Commission is to review all the entrenched provisions and come up with recommendations on the reforms required on the side of entrenched provisions as a whole so that they would be included in a Bill for their amendment through the approval of the National Assembly and a referendum presided over by the IEC.

The second set of recommendations would deal with reform of the provisions that are not entrenched which would be put into a Bill at one go, to be considered by the National Assembly for enactment.

According to Halifa Sallah, all these reforms could take place to change the 1997 Constitution beyond recognition within one year instead of the long duration being proposed by the Minister which could last for more than 2 years. The Bar Association should take up the debate so that all the legal minds would work to help the country to pursue legal ends by legal means and not by illegal means. The pages of Foroyaa will be made accessible to any legal mind interested in participating in this debate.


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