party leaders of Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC),
Fabakary Tomjong Jatta and United Democratic Party (UDP), Lawyer Ousainou
Darboe have both proposed for a two term limit for a president but tend to
differ on the system of government.
On a rare and historic occasion over the weekend when all registered 10 political parties were brought together by the Constitutional Review Commission to hold a dialogue on the drafting and writing of the new constitution, the leaders of the two political heavy weights expressed their views on the sort of constitution they want to see.
The APRC leader Fabakary said much emphasis should not be put on the term limit as people will not vote for a person if they do not want him/her to lead them again. But he said aside from that he will want a term limit of two if people insist on it.
“If the worse come to the worst, we have two-five-year terms consecutive of course, if you lose your first term, you don’t try it again because it means your second time you have been rejected by the people why come back again that’s what I believe in,” Mr. Jatta said.
The UDP leader was in agreement with his counterpart on the term limit saying, “Two terms of five years whether consecutive or non-consecutive but in aggregate it should not be more than 10.”
The two leaders, however, differed on the system of government they prefer included in the new constitution.
When asked the type of constitution he wants to see FTJ proposed for a very vibrant constitution with little changes to the 1997 Constitution which he described as “a very good constitution.”
“We want to have a constitution where for instance the three arms of government are completely separated, fundamental human rights are entrenched, and freedom of expression is also assured and we want a vibrant executive that will deliver services to the people.”
The UDP leader on the other hand advocates for a different system and emphasised on the assurance of powers, security and independence of the judiciary.
“I have proposed a hybrid of the parliamentary and the presidential; and I think it is a worthy system. But then you know when people talk about separation of powers, separation of powers doesn’t mean anything; if those who should implement it are not doing it and it does not compromise the separation of powers,” Darboe said.
“In the last government, we have separation of powers but you have seen how the courts were treated like, you see how the National Assembly was in the hands of the executive. So it is the people who operate the institutions that matters; not the type of laws.”