Diaspora Gambians host Constitutional Review Dialogue programme

Renowned Diaspora Gambian activists in the persons of Cherno Njie, a Gambian businessman based in Texas, USA; Sigga Jagne, USA; Sohna Sallah, chairperson of DUGA; Jabou Joh, USA; Pa Samba Jow of DUGA in USA; Ousainou Mbenga, DUGA in USA; Tukulorr Sey, USA; and Lawyer Lamin Camara, one of the Commissioners of the CRC in The Gambia, Tuesday, November 27, 2018, participated in a live radio programme dubbed ‘Constitutional Review Dialogue’ on Fatu Radio Network, hosted by Sulayman Ben Suwareh.
The Constitutional Review Dialogue is a new concept developed by Gambians in the diaspora to discuss and participate voluntarily in the suggestions of the ongoing Gambia’s CRC consultations.

Since its inception by President Adama Barrow, the CRC has completed its first leg of the national consultations in the north bank of the Gambia and is currently embarking on the second leg of the tour which will take them to the south bank of the country.
Tuesday’s Review Dialogue programme host, Sulayman Ben Suwareh presented the topic: ‘Citizenship and Fundamental Freedom of the Citizens in the new Constitution’, as the theme of discussion. This programme has been designed to take place in a series of sessions on a weekly basis and this particular session was part two.

Dilating on the theme, Ousainou Mbenga , a member of DUGA organisation in USA, said: “We can come up with a much better Constitution than the 1997 Constitution.” He stressed the need to build strong institutions so that the Gambia can develop faster and in the right direction.
“We have advanced in certain level to communicate what is in that document in the local languages for those who don’t speak or understand English to understand the laws of the land,” he remarked.

CRC Commissioner Lawyer Lamin Camara, who was in Basse, in the country’s upper region at the time of the review dialogue programme, said, initially, the CRC team had challenges during the first leg of their countrywide tour but was quick to add that those challenges have now been addressed. Lawyer Camara assured that the CRC tour it is going on very well and that he was amazed by the massive participation of women and youths in making suggestions for the Constitutional Review Commission team.
He also stated that not everything discussed in the public consultation was a constitutional matter and they took note of that as well.

Jabou Joh, on her part, outlined the separation of powers and the independence of the Judiciary as paramount in the new consitution. She equally stressed the need for a degree of ownership in the new Constitution.

Sohna Sallah gave an example of successful transitions in Sierra Leone and other African countries that have successfully passed through it. She added: “Strong systems and mechanisms should be put in place to help remove those who have the Gambian passport /documentation illegally. This should come with a political will to make sure that these issues can be addressed.”

For Cherno Njie, he stressed the need for greater freedom and liberty to be enforced the new Constitution. He also advocated for the inculcation of the constitution into the School curriculum for people to understand it better.

On her part, Tukulorr Sey, said: “The biggest fundamental issue is to have islam in our Constitution. Gambia has to remain a Secular State and we cannot have Islam in our Constitution. Anything to do with religion should be removed in the Constitution.”
Another activist, Sigga Jagne had this to say: “The past years the Gambian passport has been bastardized and this should not be used to discriminate other genuine people who have the rights to be a Gambian.”

“We do not have people violating the laws but we have a system that does not regulate itself,” said Pa Samba Jow, a Gambian activist based in the USA.
Meanwhile, part 3 of the Constitutional Review Dialogue series will be hosted tonight at 8:30pm (Gambia time) on Fatu Radio Network, on the theme: ‘Independent Electoral Commission and Political Parties’.
Written by MAMOS Tv

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