Assembly votes Constitution Amendment Bill, 2021 today

Feb 21, 2022, 11:43 AM | Article By: Ismaila Sonko

National Assembly Members (NAMs) are today expected to vote the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2021 to allow it move for a third reading after a long debate on Thursday.

"The bill is entitled an ACT to amend the Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia 1997, to enlarge the composition of elected members of the National Assembly to provide for the reservation of specific seats for women and persons with disabilities, and for connected matters."

Mariam Jack Denton, the speaker of the National Assembly has cited that section 226 2(b) of the 1997 Constitution mandatorily requires a Bill for an Act of the National Assembly amending or altering the Constitution shall not be passed by the National Assembly or presented to the President for assent unless it is supported on the second and third readings by the votes of not less than three-quarters of all the members of the National Assembly.

Madam speaker said this provision is further reflected in Standing Order 16(15) which prevents the Assembly to proceed to a vote on a question in any instance where the Constitution requires a fixed majority, unless and until the number of Members equivalent to such fixed majority is present at the time for voting.

However, the number of members in Chambers at the time of voting on the bill was thirty-five on Thursday.

During the Second Reading, Hon Fatoumatta Njai, National Assembly Member for Banjul South who moved of the motion, noted that the Bill also imposes an obligation on political parties to promote gender equity in the selection of candidates to contest National Assembly elections as well as the respect for human rights.

“It is envisaged that if it is passed, the Bill will guarantee participation of women and persons with disabilities in the conduct of public affairs in The Gambia in line with the consultative process that led to the inclusion of these same proposals in the 2020 Draft Constitution." she said. 

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