OPEN LETTER FROM CONCERNED YOUTHS OF THE GAMBIA TO OUR NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

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September 18, 2020

Dear Honourable National Assembly Member,

RE: OPEN LETTER FROM CONCERNED YOUTHS OF THE GAMBIA TO OUR NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

We send greetings to you and your family.

Our country was governed for 22 years by a regime that undermined the
rule of law, violated our fundamental rights and subjugated our
sovereignty and dignity as a people. As youths, we grew up in a
country under a regime that progressively negated our rights, freedoms
and civil liberties.

The 1997 constitution, which is still the supreme law of our country,
was subjected to over 50 amendments to perpetuate the power of the
former President and his regime for 22 years. On the December 2, 2016,
as a people, we finally liberated ourselves from the shackles of the
tyranny and dictatorship. As young people, we played our part, as
patriotic citizens, to bring about the change all Gambians yearned for
with the hope of ushering in a new Gambia. To further consolidate our
democracy, in April 2017, as a young people, we overwhelmingly voted
you as our representatives in the National Assembly, the people’s
assembly. As part of our “No-Too-Young-To-Run’ campaign, we encouraged
and supported many youths to participate in the legislative elections
and later in 2018, in the local government elections.

Our country is at another crossroad, with the commencement of the
debate at the National Assembly on the merits and principles of the
draft constitution.  As youth, who make up 60 per cent of the
country’s population, we are keenly following your deliberations on
the Constitution of The Republic of The Gambia (Promulgation) Bill,
2020.  As our elected representatives, you will be voting to accept or
reject the said Bill on its second and third reading. Your vote will
determine whether we usher in a Third Republic founded on a
people-centred constitution or maintain the 1997 constitution that was
an instrument that enabled and legitimised a dictatorship. As our
elected representatives, we enjoin you to be guided by your
conscience, patriotism and the supreme interest of the sovereign
citizens of Gambia in your deliberations and eventual vote.

As our representatives, you passed the Constitutional Review
Commission Act, 2017, setting in motion an inclusive and participatory
constitutional building process. The Constitutional Review Commission,
pursuant to its mandate and after extensive consultations with the
stakeholders and a cross section of the citizenry produced a
people-centered constitution.

It is not a matter of contestation that the draft constitution is a
representation of the will, wishes, and aspirations of the Gambian
people, the people at whose behest you serve.

As concerned and patriotic youths, cognizant of the far reaching and
devastating implications of the rejection of the Bill, we urge you to
vote ‘YES’ in  support  of  the draft during the second and third
reading as a ‘NO’ vote would be tantamount to an endorsement of the
1997 Constitution and betrayal of the trust as sovereign citizens of
The Gambia.

We wish you remind you that the current coalition government used
constitutional and electoral as key messages during the 2016
presidential campaigns and it is noted the majority of the National
Assembly members were part of the coalition of parties that came
together to form government thereafter. It is your solemn
responsibility as OUR elected representatives and servants of the
people to be guided by the dictates of conscience and national
interest.

We, the undersigned, the concerned youth of the Republic of The
Gambia, with due respect and humble submission, urge all members of
the National Assembly to consider our following prayers:

·         Put national interest above political party and individual interest

·         Support the constitutional and electoral processes until
their logical conclusion i.e. usher in the Third Republic of the
Gambia we envisaged in 2016

·         Approve the Constitution of The Republic of The Gambia
(Promulgation) Bill, 2020.

SIGNED

Baboucarr Nyang

On behalf of the Concerned Youth

Tel: 3806498

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