Draft constitution tabled before deputies

Sep 15, 2020, 11:30 AM | Article By: Sankulleh Gibril Janko

The Draft Constitution of The Gambia was tabled before Members of the National Assembly (NAMs) by the minister of Justice Dawda Jallow for the first reading at the chambers in Banjul on Monday.

The event also marked the beginning of the third session of the National Assembly sittings this year.

The event, characterised with a landmark in the democratisation process of the country also symbolised another significant step towards abolishing the 1997 Constitution of The Gambia while proceeding to usher in a new constitution. 

The bill, titled The Constitution of The Republic of The Gambia 2020 Promulgation Bill 2020 is now set for a second reading within a 48-hour period.

Justice Minister Jallow handed over a copy of the bill to the chamber after the clerk formally read the bill per the standing order of the house.

“Honourable members, the bill has been read the first time,” the speaker of the National Assembly, Mariam Jack Denton confirmed. “The next stage of the Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia 2020 Promulgation Bill 2020 is appointed for Tuesday 15th of September 2020.”

The Justice Minister who is in charge of the bill would push for a motion for the second reading in accordance with standing order 66 sub-clause 2 which states “at the conclusion of the proceedings of the first reading or any subsequent stage of a bill, the next stage may be taken either forthwith or upon a day to be named provided that the second reading shall be taken no sooner than one working day after the first reading.”

In May 2020, State House promised that it would table the Draft Constitution before the legislators in August following a presidential review of the draft law.

It could be recalled that the Justice Ministry announced that it has gazetted the bill to promulgate the Draft 2020 Constitution which seeks to repeal the 1997 Constitution of The Gambia.

Although cabinet failed to table the bill before the lawmakers in August as promised, tabling the bill at last on Monday, according to many, is a step in the right direction as the country continues to transition towards a fully fledged democracy.

If the Draft Constitution which is perceived to be all inclusive passes all the stages at the parliament, the Gambia will likely hold a referendum in 2021 which will determine the people’s approval of the labelled “good constitution.”