Gambia’s Constitutional Review Commission Dissolved
The Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) has been dissolved Thursday following the completion of its mandate. The CRC was established by a parliamentary Act in 2017, tasked to write a new Constitution to usher the country into the third republic. But these efforts hit the rock as national members voted the drafted Constitution down last month.
In a statement, the CRC announced that it stands to dissolve on Thursday. “This is in line with the CRC Act of 2017 that requires the Commission to dissolve after one month following the Draft Constitution Promulgation Bill tabled at the National Assembly.”
Apart from the CRC Secretary and a very few staff in the finance and human resource departments, the dissolution affects all other members including the Chairperson of the Commission and his Commissioners. The remaining staff are required to undergo auditing process as per the Act.
“As we are departing on a happy and clean slate, the CRC wishes to thank all its staff for living up to its expectations. Every effort and resources invested was worthwhile and posterity will remember us for the love of country.”
The Commission hailed the efforts by the media and the public for the incredible participation in the review process. “Your level of participation and inclusion in the process was massive, are touched, parting with you and happy leaving office with our heads high above.”
The rejection of the draft constitution by the parliamentarians at the second reading stage has shocked many Gambians and the international community given that it’s the first ever Constitutional making process where views of Gambians were massively captured. Financially, more than 120 million Gambian currency was invested in the reviewing process which facilitated wider consultation including meeting Gambians in the diaspora.
The making of a new Constitution was a campaign promise by President Adama Barrow in order to eliminate the less progressive 1997 Constitution. But after the draft was submitted to him, his cabinet made several submissions to the Commission in opposition to the document.
Barrow’s cabinet hostility to the draft Constitution has it that the new document discriminates the president by counting his current term as part of the two-terms of ten years. The draft Constitution has also reduced the powers of the president by subjecting his appointments to a parliamentary confirmation.
Barrow’s name was linked to the rejection of the Draft by Gambians after all the national assembly members loyal to him denounced the text and later voted it down.