APRC leader blasts draft constitution, says it would have created crisis

Oct 1, 2020, 1:08 PM | Article By: Momodou Jawo

Fabakary Tombong Jatta, the interim party leader of the opposition Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC) has strongly criticised the draft constitution, claiming it would have created a constitutional crisis had it gone through Parliament.

“I want to thank the gallant National Assembly Members (NAMs) who voted down this draft constitution. You will be on the right side of history. There are lots of provisions in the draft that are meant to favour individuals and institutions at the detriment of Gambian people. In fact, there is a lot of conspiracy. Many of the points mentioned in the draft are just meant to match individuals and interest groups,” he said

 The APRC interim leader was speaking yesterday during a press conference at the party’s political bureau in Manjai. The press conference was to react to the recent Constitution Promulgation Bill 2020, which was rejected by the Assembly.

“We are today at a momentous period for our country. We are at a cross-road and unfortunately, it’s difficult to see lights that will bring us peace, progress and prosperity.”

Our present predicament, we must agree, is as a result of the collective failure of the entire coalition leadership who allowed their personal ambition and grip to override the interest of Gambian people.”

“The greatest challenges we had especially on the drafting on the constitutional bill,” he said, is the fact that, Ousainou Darboe, Mai Fatty and some others who believed that the 1997 Constitution is a Yahya Jammeh constitution and it’s owned by him, and therefore, do not want to accept it, adding that the 1997 constitution is a national document.

“Do we think about the quality of the end product before we are talking about the D116 millions spent on the process of drafting the constitution bill? The money doesn’t matter if the end products are good for people. But how can you say we spent D116 millions and the end product is useless that’s complete wastage and that wastages is caused by them, because they wanted to capture in the draft their individual interests at the expense of the vast majority of Gambians.”

“We will rather waste D116 millions than to have a half-hazard document that doesn’t go to address the aspirations of Gambian people.”

Tombong Jatta branded the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) members as “so-called intellectuals.” “I call them so-called intellectuals. We can’t be taken for granted. The APRC didn’t support the draft constitution based on many reasons, not because we support the 1997 Constitution based on something.”

He cited some clauses and sections in the draft constitution, claiming had it been voted yes by the lawmakers, it would be amended more than 1000 times within one year.

Mr. Jatta also called on President Adama Barrow to pardon the soldiers that were convicted on Whats-App saga and also to grant bail to the NIA 9 suspects and also Yankuba Touray, who is currently standing trial for the murder of the former Finance Minister Ousman Korro Ceesay.