EDITORIAL – Who is really afraid of the new Constitution?
Make no mistake… Gambians fully know why some Members of our parliament (MPs) intend to vote against the new Constitution. Gambians know that such MPs prefer the 1997 Yahya Jammeh tailored Constitution to help their political leaders win the 2021 presidential election with less than half of the voters’ cast. Gambians are also aware that National assembly members plotting to vote against the adoption of the new Constitution have no shame surrendering their dignity to make use of Yahya Jammeh’s Constitutional dictatorship.
In 2017, Gambians believed that they voted for MPs who were fully aware of using their legislative powers in the national interest, as accountable representatives of the people. Let’s however face the blatant truth… With the exception of a few, many members of the current Gambian legislature strongly see themselves as agents, in the National Assembly, for President Adama Barrow if not Ousainou Darboe, Mama Kandeh, Yahya Jammeh, Hamat Bah and others.
This is why the worst attitude in this tension – that should have never been in the first place – is the silence of those political figures who intend to benefit and take full advantage of the current Yahya Jammeh travesty of Constitution.
Political party leaders who genuinely believe in their pledge to lead The Gambia, without malice, do not need Yahya Jammeh’s 1997 tailored Constitution. They have faith in the CRC drafted Constitution, strong confidence in their political offer and absolute trust in the Gambian people. They believe in the capacity of our compatriots to discern and chose the right leader from an election, even if it means voting for their political opponent. As it is, Gambians expect patriotic leaders to speak out to defend the common interest.
The true leaders who love The Gambia have remained faithful to the promises and pledges made in 2016 to uproot the system that enabled and entrenched Yahya Jammeh at the expense of Human rights, the Rule of law and Development. Those leaders have integrated the historical duty to speak out and defend the 2020 draft Constitution. They are speaking out to save the future of The Gambia. They echo the voice of reason and command wisdom to those MPs entrusted with the people’s mandate to legislate for the common good of The Gambia.
Sadly, Gambians are also aware that some political figures of this country will never be comfortable with the new Constitution as it delegates our people with powers to vet politicians and demand for high quality leadership. But above all, the new Constitution is written not to be tailored according to political circumstances and fluctuating political interests.
History will retain that Gambian patriotic, peace loving and progressive leaders shall be known and loved by our compatriots in this critical moment, when they rise up to quell the threat on the existence of democracy in our nation, when they compel Members of parliament of their political obedience to vote to adopt the new Constitution.
To all MPs of this legislature, your oversight powers must not, by a roundabout route, turn into a power to hatch what was meticulously built as a national consensus. You do not represent only your constituencies but the whole Gambia. You have a national mandate and remember this: “Citizens can exercise their right to resist coercion against any change deemed unacceptable”.