The building of a modern nation starts with the building of its constitution. The time that Gambians who know what is to be done after the 2016 electoral victory has been waiting for has arrived.
The role of building a new nation is not a partisan affair. It is a national affair. The most important task after the change of government is the making of the constitution. It has taken a whole year and a half before the Constitutional Review Commission is established. As the old saying goes it is better late than never. The swearing-in of the members of the Constitutional Review Commission is the most important part of the constitutional review process. Many Gambians have been asking whether a term limit to the presidency will be established, the second round of voting restored and Gambians abroad having the right not only to vote but to return and stand for election. The opportunity is now available to make our voices heard.
Section 6(2) of the Constitutional Review Commission Act states that the Commission will safeguard and promote the following matters in their recommendation:
- 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;
- National unity, cohesion and peace;
- The importance of ensuring periodic elections based on universal adult suffrage, including the introduction of term limits for serving in the office of President; and
- The Gambia’s continued existence as a secular state [in which all faiths are treated equally and encouraged to foster national cohesion and unity].”
The Commission is charged with the responsibility of reviewing the 1997 Constitution, seek public opinion, and take into account such proposals as it considers appropriate. The debate is now open for a review of the Constitution. What type of recommendations will be made depends entirely on the citizenry. Foroyaa will be reporting on the activities of the Commission. We hope the Commission will make the press a partner so that everything it does will be shared with the nation.