The Deputy Presidential Youth Adviser Saihou Mballow has accused the Chairman of Gambia’s Constitutional Review Commission Justice Cherno Sulayman Jallow and his staff of wasting taxpayers money in millions of dalasis, only for Jallow and co to present what he called “a rubbish and discriminatory draft constitution” to The Gambian leader President Adama Barrow, Freedom Newspaper can report. Mballow was speaking on Thursday during Freedom Radio’s Civic Education show.
“The CRC Chairman Cherno Jalllow and his team haven’t presented a draft constitution that would represent the true wishes and aspirations of The Gambian people. They have wasted million of dalasis; how can they prepare a draft constitution that has been purposely designed to deny President Barrow his legitimate five years mandate? Constitutions are not supposed to be drafted to discriminate at individuals, or to be applied retroactively. It was wrong for Jallow and his team to say that the draft constitution would come into force in 2017. That is illegal. It is legally misplaced,” Mballow said in the local Wollof dialect.
According to Mballow, President Barrow’s current five years mandate shouldn’t be included in the draft constitution. He alleged that the draft constitution had been tailormade to hijack Barrow’s constitutionally deserved mandate.
“That section of the draft constitution is an affront to the electoral will of The Gambian people. President Barrow was elected into office in a free, fair, and transparent elections. Thanks to the advent of his administration, there is a Constitutional Review Commission that has been tasked to draft a new constitution for the country. There is no legal basis for the inclusion of Barrow’s five years mandate into the two-term limit for the Presidency. I think Justice Jallow and his team are out to intrude into Barrow’s legitimate five years mandate,” Mballow added.
Mballow also says President Barrow is mandated by law to edit the content of draft constitution if he so desires. He added that the legislative branch is equally empowered by law to effect changes on the draft.
Mballow has also accused the CRC Chairman of neglecting The Gambia during Jammeh’s tyrannical rule. He says Cherno Jallow was only interested in pursuing high paying jobs in the Caribbean than taking part in the liberation struggle to free Gambians from Jammeh’s despotic rule.
“Where was Cherno Sulayman Jallow when Yahya Jammeh was here killing our people? He was nowhere to be seen. He was busy earning money overseas. Now that there is a change of government, they are back in the country to line their pockets. He hasn’t done the job that he was asked to do. The draft constitution he presented is a total disservice to this country. This was not what Gambians voted for. You cannot prepare a constitution that should operate retroactively. I have never seen this type of draft constitution. It is a rubbish draft constitution,” Mballow lamented.
“Justice Jallow and his team can go after President Barrow’s legitimate term, and yet they could create a pass for convicts like Ousainou Darboe. Under the draft constitution, convicts such as Darboe can run in future Presidential elections. Under the current 1997 constitution Darboe is not qualified to run. His criminal conviction appeal was dismissed by the Supreme Court, which Jallow is a member of that highest court of the land. The lower court had also dismissed his appeal. The draft constitution had expunged Darboe’s past criminal record by default. You can look it up,” Mballow added.
Mballow has warned that if the draft constitution is not properly reviewed, it might not be passed in a referendum. He said the draft is not only defective, but fundamentally sick. He added that the draft should be cured before it would be presented to Gambians for a vote.
Justice Cherno Jallow could not be reached for comment at press time.