‘President should declare gift to the lawmakers’

Monday, January 07, 2019

As the last phase of the ongoing public consultation of the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) begins at Busura village in the West Coast Region, Kaddy Sanneh, a resident of the village has opined that the president should declare gifts given to him or to the country to the National Assembly members to ensure transparency and accountability.

She said that the disclosure of this kind of gifts should be included in the new constitution to be drafted by the CRC.

“The grade 12 educational requirement for presidency should not be included in the new constitution. The president should be educated up to college or university levels in order to enable him/her govern the country effectively,” she said, adding that the age requirement for the presidency should start from 30 years.

Since the 4th of November 2018, the CRC has embarked on in-country public consultations and has so far covered NBR, CRR, LRR and URR. The CRC headed by Justice Cherno Sulayman Jallow with 11 other commissioners have visited 47 communities in these 4 regions of the country, during which the satellite villages in the relevant districts of those communities were invited and participated in the discussions.

Abubacarr Jarsey, also opined that the president should not be given the right to appoint the chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission, arguing that the president can appoint his favourite candidate to let the person dance to his tunes.

“The IEC chair should be elected and should be someone who fears Allah and must have all the qualification and knowledge.”

The alkalo of Penyem village, Kalilou Colley, underscored the significance of the daylong discussion and suggested that the presidential and National Assembly elections should both be held on the same day. He noted that people only turn-out during presidential election.

“There should be a committee responsible for the appointment of the IEC chairman. The IEC chair should be employed like any other civil servant in the country. The illiterate rate in the country is very high therefore marble system of voting should continue,” Lutta Jatta stated.

Ebrima Jarju of Busura village opined that Gambians in the Diaspora who want to vote during our elections should come to the country and vote, but the government should not take out ballot boxes for them to vote, pointing out that, that requires lots of resources.

One Alieu Jarju also opined that the on the spot counting should be maintained and it should be included in the new constitution. He said marble system of voting should continue, noting that electronic system of voting can be easily hacked.

“Dual citizens should not be allowed to contest for presidential election. District chiefs and village alkalolu should not be elected; instead a tradition should be observed in their appointments. However, if there is a problem in any village with regard to alkaloship, the government should intervene and appoint an independent person,” Abubacarr Manjang suggested.

The CRC meeting continues at Marakisa village in the Kombo Central.  

Author: Momodou Jawo