Gambia’s National Assembly members continue debating on the merit and principles of the Constitution of The Gambia 2020 Bill. The much awaited Constitutional Review Commission drafted document before law makers has already generated strongly divergent views in many quarters ranging from national assembly members to the general public as well as civil society organizations.
The deep divide begins with some national assembly members fully assuming that the draft Constitution represents the views and aspirations of the Gambian people, whilst others are of the view that the new Document is not different from the 1997 Constitution as they debate on its general principles and merits.
“Today the nation is grip with mix feelings, in the sense that the general public are saying will they or won’t they, the country is looking at us and madam speaker I think we’ll do the right thing” said the national assembly for Jarra East Sainey Touray.
According to him, the new Constitution must enjoy a yes vote. “If you ask me why Madam Speaker? Because it’s an embodiment of the interest, wishes, and aspirations of totality of Gambians. I have no doubt that after scrutiny, we are going to give a yes vote to this constitution”.
The National Assembly for Sandu, Muhammed Mahanera, said the new constitution is not for individuals but it is here to strengthen institutions’ efficacy. He however have an objection with secularism.
“As a Muslim, I have gone through this Constitution but there are terms in this constitution that am definitely not happy with. We all have been talking about secularism, that it has to be in this Constitution others says it suppose not to be in this Constitution but we can see that in way where secularism is embedded in this constitution and for me as a Muslim am not going to support that”
In his intervention, the national assembly for Foni Jarrol Alhagie Sankung Jammeh said the 1997 constitution should’ve been look into for amendments rather than coming with a new constitution. According to him, the new constitution is a “Conspiracy against the 1997 constitution. We could’ve have just go through it (1997 constitution) and see how best we could add those (clauses) that were deleted rather than saying it’s a soldier or APRC constitution and that in that way, it wouldn’t have cost as much as we are saying now”
He said they’ve the right as law makers to tell the CRC if they fail to give Gambians the proper constitution
The debate continues