Gambia:Draft Constitution Rejected, UDP Leader Faults Gov’t

By Bakary Ceesay

United Democratic Party, UDP leader Ousainou Darboe
United Democratic Party, UDP leader Ousainou Darboe

United Democratic Party, UDP leader Ousainou Darboe has fault President Adama Barrow government of masterminded the rejection of the  draft constitution by the National Assembly members.

On Tuesday, the 2020 draft Constitution bill has been rejected at the National Assembly after 23 members have voted against its passing to the third reading. This means the process to adopt the new Constitution has been killed. At least for now.

“The Yes is 31. The No is 23. According to Section 226 of the 1997 Constitution reads and I quote. A bill for an Act of the National Assembly under this section shall not be passed by the assembly or presented to the president for an assent unless the bill is supported on the second and third reading by the votes of not less than three quarters of the members of the National Assembly,”  Mariama Jack Denton speaker of Gambia’s National Assembly said.

Darboe told a press conference that: “It is quite disheartening that the tireless efforts of the commission and its members for the past three years have been made futile due to the indifference of the current administration,”.

He added: “It is even more disturbing that the government spent D116 million dalasis to fund a reform process they unjustifiably brought to an ill-fated end. The commission worked extensively at every stage of the drafting process seeking out the opinions of Gambians across the entire spectrum in and out of the country, studying best practices in other established democracies and exerting great effort to come up with a document that broadly reflected the considered views of the Gambian people. The commission did its job within the prescribed time and submitted to the president as directed by the CRC Act.

“Not once after receiving the draft had the president taken a moment to address the Gambian people about the significance of this national priority. Instead his cabinet and advisers publicly attacked the draft in ways that were unbecoming. No single member of the executive branched weighed in on the draft following its submission to the national assembly.”

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