Barrow, Darboe blamed for failure of draft constitution talks

Mar 15, 2021, 12:39 PM | Article By: Pa Modou Cham & Adama Tine

After several negotiations efforts between political party leaders and former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan to bring back the Gambia’s Draft Constitution yielded no fruits, the party leader of Gambia Democratic Congress (GDC), Mamma Kandeh and the leader of Gambia Action Party (GAP), Musa Yali Bacthilly, have blamed President Adama Barrow and the UDP’s leader Ousainou Darboe for the withhold of the draft.

The GAP leader said the UDP leadership is behind the failure of draft negotiations, while adding that some leaders are hungry for power.

“Ousainou Darboe and the UDP team are causing us the problem. They are the one causing problem and if they believe that they will win the elections, then why all these talks. For me, I know I am going to win the elections. The UDP is scared of the paranoia of what’s going on and that’s why they hold the nation on ransom,” Bacthilly said.

Kandeh explained that the only problem that is holding the draft is President Barrow and the UDP party.

“I made a proposal that the two camps should sit together with a mediator and find a solution to this problem. Every one of them should realise that The Gambia is bigger than an individual or a particular group,” Kandeh pointed out.

For his part, the leader of Citizens’ Alliance Dr. Ismaila Ceesay also highlighted that there is need to have a new constitution and a new legal framework for The Gambia.

“It’s not helping anyone and not the voters, IEC, Political parties or any aspiring candidate. I put two options on the desk that are going to be explored. There are legal possibilities and technical viability to put on some legal issues.”

The options highlighted at the end of the negotiation are to take back the Constitution at the parliament or amend some parts of the 1997 Constitution.

Meanwhile, the National Assembly Member for Busumbala Constituency, Hon. Saikouba Jarju, has accused the United Democratic Party (UDP) of being selfish and partisan amid failed talks on the draft constitution. 

“It is not a surprise to see the failure of the draft constitution. This is an indication that there is no national interest that politicians are fighting, but selfish and partisan interest.

The party doing that is UDP, anything they don’t lead, they will not take part and if their decision does not stand, they don’t take part as well” Jarju said.

In an interview with Kerr Fatou, Jarju said that the draft constitution doesn’t belong to politicians. He  however, maintained his position that if the draft returns to parliament as it was rejected, he will vote against it as he did in 2020.

Saikouba got to parliament in April 2017 under UDP ticket, but later in November 2019, he with other parliamentarians who also got to the house under the party’s ticket, got expelled from the party. UDP cited that the NAMs have shifted their allegiance and loyalty to President Barrow.