Armitage students call for permanent Gambian chief justice

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

As the second leg of the public consultation of the Constitution Review Commission (CRC) begins from Janjangbureh, students of Armitage Senior Secondary School in the Central River Region have suggested that the chief justice of The Gambia should always be a Gambian and the president should not appoint the individual.

Inhabitants in Janjangbureh – the administration town of CRR equally suggested that political parties in the Gambia should be given subvention by the government to enable them run the affairs of their respective political parties as it is happening in other countries.

The CRC, headed by Justice Cherno Sulayman Jallow, is tasked by the Constitutional Review Commission Act 2017 to review the 1997 Constitution and draft a new constitution and prepare a report.

CRC officials and the communities of Janjangbureh discussed issues, ranging from citizenship, IEC, two-term limit and election for chiefs and alkalolu among host of others issues.

Momodou Jallow, a 10 grader at Armitage Senior School suggested that Diaspora community should have the right to vote. “We have seen others nationalities particularly Senegalese voting during their elections. Therefore, Gambians should also have the same opportunity to vote during our elections.”

“A president appointing a chief justice does not make any sense for the fact that the individuals will not make a good judgment. Therefore, an independent panel should be formed that will be responsible for the appointment of the chief justice,” Ramatoulie Njie of Armitage said.

According to her, prisoners should equally have the right to vote.

“Despite their breaking of the law, they should be given the chance to vote in our elections.”

The former National Assembly member for Lower Fulladou, Yerro Mballow, underscored the significance of the forum, saying: “A panel should be established in order to guide the president on appointing some sensitive positions in the civil service sector,” he said.

Mr. Mballow said all political parties should have representatives at the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), saying that the president should not be appoint or dismiss the IEC chairman, chiefs and alkalolu.

Anta Jobarteh a native of Janjangbureh said all women positions should be filled by women and not just be represented.

“We should not be represented. The minister of Women’s Affairs should be a female. We want the women to have at least 30% representation in the National Assembly,” she said.

Barasa Susso, a teacher of Armitage and Omar Jammeh a youth representative in the town both dwelled on the significance of the meeting. “Skill centers should be decentralised across the country, it should be included in the new constitution.”

Author: Momodou Jawo