#National News

AFGDACR raises concern over rejection of draft constitution

Sep 30, 2020, 1:32 PM

The Advocacy for Gambia Democracy and Civil Rights (Afgdacr) has raised concern over the recent move by lawmakers to reject the Constitution Promulgation Bill 2020.
In press release sent to this medium, the Civil Society movement, described the move as tragic death of ‘our last piece of hope’.

Below is the release:

The Advocacy for Gambia Democracy and Civil Rights (Afgdacr) would like to mournfully announce the tragic death of our last piece of hope, trust and confidence in the current government and its leadership particularly the National Assembly which blatantly decided to compromise our collective national opinion and interest for their individual self-centred, and nepotistic objectives by failing to vote our noble draft constitution last Tuesday, 22nd September, 2020.

Majority of the citizens of the so called new Gambia had had very high hopes and trust that our National Assembly in the new democratic dispensation would undoubtedly uphold their every proposition in accordance with the wishes and aspirations of the citizens. Unfortunately, despite Gambia’s majority wish for the draft constitution to be assented for a referendum, our honourable National Assembly Members decided to treacherously dishonour our deeply craved national achievement. More unfortunately, the only motives we heard them give for their decision have no significant bearing to the public interest and the common national good.

However, with a little reflection on Gambia’s political history, this behaviour of our NAMs will no longer be a surprise, for we would clearly see how our NAMs, and even our presidents of this and the preceding governments have always taken us for granted, held us to ransom, and selfishly compromised our national interest.

In May 2001, it was the National Assembly that Dictator Jammeh used to enshrine the Indemnity Bill in our constitution in order to insulate any security officer who shoots or kills any protesters. The President signed the bill, despite a general outcry and petitions from human rights organizations. Again, it was the National Assembly that Yaya Jammeh used to attempt to crush our national efforts to restore our deserved democracy when he declared a state-of-emergency in December, 2016 after rejecting the election results. And now, it is again the National Assembly that Barrow decided to use to insultingly throw our precious draft constitution into the trash bin.

In The Gambia, since the inception of the Barrow government, what we can clearly see so far now is the following scenario:

  • a government that has been there for four years but we still have the only available paracetamol at our public hospitals;
  • a four-year old government, but we still have the worst erratic water and power supply despite the great white-elephant projects in that sector.
  • four years now, but our purchasing power growing even weaker while prices of basic commodities continually rise.
  • Close to five years now, but improved livelihood is destined for only the leaders while the citizens have been asked to wait till later, that development is not achieved that soon – that Rome was not built in a day.
  • a government whose very first mandate it vowed would be “to reform the civil service and the security sectors”, yet it maintains in important government and public offices, those very elements who were aiding and abetting the APRC dictatorship. 
  • and finally, a government that is clearly seen trying to use the National Assembly to incarnate “the almighty Yaya Jammeh” and his APRC with whom the NPP has already formed an alliance.

Fellow Gambians, why do we deserve such penalty? Is this the type of government we intended, and now that it has turned so, what do we do, resign to fate and hopeless complacency?

For Afgdacr, and the rest of Gambian civil society, the answer is definitely NO. We shall seek to collaborate with all civil society organizations and NGOs to proactively engage NAMs and government leaders and seek to better understand their genuine motives, and to share with them our collective way forward that we have resorted to as a neutral and united common front poised for the common national good.  

Therefore, we wish to announce a co-ordination meeting of CSOs by early next week after which we shall host a press conference at the end of the same week to share our project with the Gambian populace before we set ourselves afoot.

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