Jatta, Darbo, Jobarteh On The Draft Constitution
Siaka Jatta says:
The Draft Constitution “weakens the powers vested in the executive arm of the government and unfairly targets the president.”
Lamin J Darbo says:
“Yes, you can’t retroactively punish Barrow! Remove Schedule 4 (5) (2)”
Madi Jobarteh says:
“The CRC has taken the views of The Gambian people and put it in the Draft Constitution. Neither the President nor the National Assembly have the right to change the Will of The People as expressed in the Draft Constitution. Don’t touch our Draft Constitution!”
The response to Mr. Jatta is this:
Having just come out of a 22-year strong-man dictatorship, where the President was all-powerful, it is the wish of the Gambian people, and CRC, to “weaken the President”. Surely that is a good thing!
The response to Mr. Dabo is this:
Section 4(5)(2) does indeed seem to target President Barrow but that is again only because the CRC decided to give teeth to the overwhelming Will of The Gambian people after 22 years of Jammeh’s dictatorship: THE WISH TO HAVE A PRESIDENT SERVE ONLY FOR TWO FIVE-YEAR TERMS. It could be that the CRC decided to insert Section 4(5)(2) because President Barrow had earlier changed his mind after having promised to serve for only 3-years – and the CRC does not trust him to leave office after he has served 10 years. So they tried to ensure that Barrow, and all future Gambian Presidents, serve only 10 years by inserting Section 4(5)(2).
The response to Mr. Jobaterh is this:
Both the President and National Assembly Members (NAMs) can also claim to represent the people because they are directly elected by The Gambian people. As such, they can change the Draft Constitution – in agreement with each other – and then put the Draft Constitution to the people in a referendum. As I understand it, the CRC Act does not prevent the President nor the NAMs from changing the Draft Constitution.
But if I am wrong, why would Barrow want to put the Final Draft Constitution as it is to a referendum now? He can wait until 2027 if he wishes – by which time Section4(5)(2) becomes irrelevant.
Finally, Mr. Lamin J Dabo also says:
“Let us settle our political differences at the ballot in 2021”
A good idea indeed Mr. Dabo, but incumbency in African politics being what it is, I would put my money on President Barrow winning the 2021 elections – and therefore on Madi’s untouchable Final Draft Constitution being kicked into the long grass – until 2027!.
Pa Mbai, I promise this is my last piece on the Draft Constitution! (I also hear the NBA might be back next week – thank God!).