40 young people from different districts in West Coast Region have participated
in a day-long Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) consultation forum at the
Regional Education Directorate in Brikama, dubbed “a constitution for change”.
The forum was funded by UNDP and facilitated by its partner implementing organizations including the National Youth Council, Activista The Gambia, Peace Ambassadors and the National Youth Parliament. It targets to create opportunity for young people to have their voices and concerns reflected in the new constitution.
West Coast Region CRC coordinator Senaro Ceesay said the Commission team and the Government attaches great importance to young people and their participation in the current review of the constitution.
He said no constitution can be effectively reviewed and developed without the active participation of her youthful population, saying higher percentage of Gambia’s population is occupied by young people.
According to him, young people’s’ participation in the reviewal of the constitution will avail them the chance to voice out their demands and concerns on the type of laws that should be enshrined in the new constitution that they feel will better their lives. “I can tell you that this new constitution will have a lot of concerns for you as young people because you occupy the biggest percentage of the country’s population.”
Lamin E. Fatty, CRC regional spokesperson reminded young people of some of the processes the review of the new constitution has to take before becoming a legally bidding instrument that will govern the country.
He said CRC as a team cannot make the constitution on behalf of the people but are only entrusted and judiciously selected to do a nationwide consultation meeting with citizens to allow them exercise their constitutional and human rights to take part in the drafting.
“We have to be fully aware that CRC as a team do not have any single mandate by law to draft and make our own constitution. So it is only a team of people chosen to do a consultation meeting with the citizens so that they can also take part in the review process of the new constitution,” he said
Awa Barrow of Activista The Gambia urged youths to take the forum seriously, saying that most of the time they are victims of governments after winning elections.
She said it is time for youths to realize their positive stance towards self-development and avoid being use as tools for any political gains by political aspirants, citing current unemployment rate facing the youthful population.