Two decades of dictatorship taught us, Gambians, the importance of good governance and rule of law in a democratic society. The pain and injustice our people endured under the last administration was for the most part, guided by a constitution meant to stifle democracy and good governance. The need for a new governance culture and practices necessitated the daunting task of unearthing the current constitution—a 1997 constitution laced with provisions meant for a dictator to grip on to the reigns of power.
The Constitutional Review process cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of Dalasis and hundreds of thousands of man hours to fulfill the aspirations of most Gambian citizens across the globe. This is reflected in the wide-ranging consultations the Constitutional Review Committee, (CRC), undertook to ensure concerns of all Gambians are addressed in the proposed draft constitution.
Although the proposed draft constitution covered a broad range of issues and concerns, it is not a perfect document. In fact, we (Gambia For All) had reservations on some controversial proposals we felt could have been better addressed or handled. However, we strongly believe that, the document will prove an effective instrument to underpin the functioning of a progressive modern state, the practice of good governance and the molding of a democratic society in which citizens will enjoy the scope for living in freedom and dignity.
Now that the review process has reached the People’s house, the aspirations of the people of The Gambia cannot be secondary to any other interest, be it political or personal, the People of the Gambia must have the final say in how they would like to be governed. What is at stake is far more important than the outcome of the coming election cycle or the one after that. The future of our children, grand-children and the survival of our nation is at stake. An opportunity to correct the course, after two decades of injustice and destitution, should not be squandered by the few.
The GFA urges the current administration not to interfere with the process. Bribery and any form of intimidation of National Assembly Members, (NAMs), will not only be immoral but a violation of the law. We are also appealing to NAMs to put country first and we wish to remind them that they are representing their constituency not only those that voted for them. Clearly, the decisions the NAMs, make today will forever impact the lives of our people for the unforeseeable future.
It is against this backdrop that the Gambia For All party, (GFA), wholeheartedly supports the new draft constitution and strongly urges all NAMs to do the same.