It is an undeniable fact that most Gambian National Assembly Members are not familiar with the process of presenting bills for amendment at the National Assembly. It is therefore important for citizens, this new government and future members of the NA to understand the process to avoid missteps or trampling over the constitution. Foroyaa published a list of steps that needs to be taken. Gainako deem it important to republish the steps for our wider readership…
These steps must be followed for a Bill to be successfully and legally amended by the National Assembly.
1. Publish the Bill in the Gambia Gazette
2. Publish it for the second time in the Gazette not less than three months after the first publication
3. The Bill can then be introduced at least ten days after the second publication in the Gazette (This is a total period of not less than three months ten days)
4. After the second and third readings the Bill is supported by not less than three quarters of the members (or 44 members) of the National Assembly
5. The Bill will now be sent to the president for his or her assent PROVIDED it is not an entrenched section such as section 1 which states that The Gambia is a sovereign republic.
6. The president has thirty days to assent to the Bill and the constitution is amended upon his assent. There are consequences if the president fails to assent to the Bill within 30 days which will not be dealt with here.
7. If it is an entrenched section a further step is taken, the Speaker sends it to the IEC to hold a referendum on the Bill within 6 months
8. At least fifty percent of the registered voters vote at the referendum and three quarters of the votes cast are in support of the Bill
9. The Bill is presented to the president together with a certificate from the IEC for the president’s assent.
10. The president has no choice but to assent to the Bill within seven days and the constitution is amended upon his or her assent.
This in simple terms is how the constitution is amended.
SOURCE: FOROYAA NEWSPAPER