CRC consultation reveals Gambians lost faith in gov’t

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Justice Cherno Sulayman Jallow, the chairman of the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) has said that some of the most pertinent issues raised by the Gambian community at large relates to concerns about the governance of the country.

“It is an understatement to say that Gambians generally have lost faith in government – and that is any government,” he revealed.

CRC Chairman Jallow made these remarks at a media engagement held at his office update where he clarified issues relating to the work of the CRC, challenges, and the way forward. 

“The CRC public consultations process afforded many with a rare opportunity to vent their frustrations at how government is administered,” he said. “They do not trust the educated class that they seem to view as untrustworthy, greedy, unreliable   and without conscience; one even indicated that he does not trust his educated sons because of how he has seen them amass their wealth.”

“Some amongst them have even called for farmers to lead this country,” he further revealed, adding that what was striking in all of these engagements was the absence of political partisanship.

“People spoke with knowledge and respect and expressed the hope that the educated class will use their positions to truly develop this country and rural Gambia,” Justice Jallow said.

He noted that the CRC recognises the importance of managing public expectations, adding that the new Constitution cannot embrace everything.

He heighted that during the public consultations, a number of issues contained in the CRC’s Issues Document were discussed and people gave their views and opinions.

Key among the issues that surfaced he went on were Citizenship, Fundamental Rights and Freedoms, Elections, Local Government Structures and Empowerment, the Executive, the need to establish service commissions for Health, Education, and Agriculture and  the Environment, the Legislature, Representation of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, declaration of assets, the use of local languages in the National Assembly, Public Finance, political party finance, National Youth Service Scheme and security of tenure for the offices of the Auditor General, Governor of the Central Bank of The Gambia, and chief executives of the Public Enterprises. 

“A host of pertinent emerging issues were also raised by the communities ranging from issues related to foreign investors in The Gambia, acquisition of land by housing estate agents and its negative effects on communities’ livelihoods and grazing lands for animals, access to health care service, education and other basic services, farmers’ lack of access to markets, women’s ownership of and access to land, and youth unemployment; this is just to mention a few, he also said.”

The consultations covered 104 (one hundred and four) communities country-wide, he revealed.

He registered CRC’s appreciation to all Gambians who participated actively in the public consultations.

The Commission has received and is processing position papers submitted by Gambians and other stakeholders from the following categories of stakeholders:7 Religious Bodies; 5 Educational Institutions; 9 Government Bodies; 17 Non-Governmental Organizations; 3 Inter-Governmental Organizations; 51 submissions from Individuals; and 1 Political Party, he said.

Author: Cherno Omar Bobb