CRC says no deadline for drafting new constitution

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

The Communication Department of the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) has said that the commission never announced a deadline for the completion of the drafting of the new Gambian constitution.

The CRC made this clarification at a recent press conference held at its secretariat in Kotu, following reports alleging that the legal body had announced that the new constitution will be available in June this year.

In a similar development, the CRC outlined its plans to reshape the image of the commission to restore public trust and confidence in the constitutional review process, after the chairman of the legal body announced that the rural populace had lost faith in the educated class, comments he considered to be an indictment on educated people including the CRC itself.

Justice Cherno Jallow, the chairperson of CRC said that the CRC’s public consultation process afforded many people with a rare opportunity to vent their frustrations at how government is administered. He acknowledged that people spoke with knowledge and respect and expressed hope that the educated class will use their positions to truly develop the country, particularly rural Gambia.

“I recall one incident where a rural famer told me that they work hard every year; till the soil; harvest their crops and sold them, and that’s how they have been able to educate their children,” he said. “They were doing that hoping that their communities will be developed one day, but what they see is a retrogression of that, the more they spend on their children’s education the worst they become.”

“Something is fundamentally wrong in this country and I think it is an indictment to every educated class, we have failed this country, our parents and communities. This (CRC process) is an opportunity for us to redeem ourselves and reconcile with rural Gambia, he asserted.

Speaking further, the legal luminary emphasised that the rural dwellers are part and parcel of the country, adding that they see what is going on, and that they know the daily happenings.

He said: “To reconcile with rural Gambia, we have to reflect on ourselves and our positions and responsibilities and do what is right. If we have been doing what is right, then we should strengthen that people have to be conscientious in addition to being educated; that is the best way I can put.”

In delivering her closing remarks, Lawyer Jannet Sallah Njie, said that the commission will endeavour to build strong institutions when drafting the new constitution to address the needs of communities to cement public trust and confidence.

“If we have strong institutions, security of tenure, the guidelines and procedures ensuring that everything is above board hopefully, we will have good outcome,” she remarked.

She indicated that some people were very grateful for being involved in the CRC process.

“The commission has endeavoured to reach out to all spectrum of Gambian society irrespective of the diversity of our country. In any community where we went, we endeavoured to communicate in the language they understand, and they were able to participate in the language they understand best and that is part of the validation to restore public confidence, she added.”

Author: Musa Sanneh