By Muhammed L Bojang
The Party Leader of the United Democratic Party UDP, Ousainou ANM Darboe, has accused the Government of killing the 2020 Draft Constitution at the National Assembly.
The rejection of the Bill by the lawmakers on Tuesday, September 22, has shattered the hopes and aspirations of many Gambians after D116 Millions was spent on the draft constitution that failed to get the backing of forty-two (42) National Assembly Members to push the Bill to the next level.
The hope of a new dawn of democracy was shadowed with uncertainty as the Gambia continued to be guided with the 1997 Constitution that has rule the country for the past 22 years of dictatorship.
The UDP Party Leader, Ousainou Darboe has expressed his disappointment at a Press Conference held at the Party’s Office in Kairaba Avenue on Wednesday. He alleged that the presidency has engineered the rejection of the 2020 Draft Constitution Bill.
“I am indeed saddened to address the nation after the Parliament’s failure to support what would have been one of the most historic moments for our country and for the consolidation of its democracy. The rejection of the draft constitution by a few individuals has totally disregarded public and national interest and has taken from us the opportunity to usher in a new beginning, the New Gambia that we all yearned for back in December 2016 when we took to the polls to end the self-perpetuating rule,” the UDP Leader stated.
Honourable Darboe adduced that the Constitutional Review commission(CRC) was established by an Act of Parliament, pursuant to which the President selected its constituent commissioners composed of eminent legal minds and citizens of impeccable credentials.
“This shows that this draft Constitution was not designed for any political party or individual. It is the expression of the wishes and the desires of the Gambian people,” Darboe told reporters.
He said it is quite disheartening that the tireless efforts of the commission and it’s members for the past three years have been made futile due to the indifference of the current administration. He added that most disturbingly the Government has spent D116 million Dalasis to fund a reform process they unjustifiably brought to an ill-fated end.
The UDP Leader has similarly expressed his dismay in both the President and the Attorney General for demonstrating a lack of passion and desire in the draft Constitution.
“Not once after receiving the draft had the president taken a moment to address the Gambian people about the significance of this national priority. Instead, his cabinet and advisers publicly attacked the draft in ways that were unbecoming,” said Ousainou Darboe.
He added: “No single member of the executive branch weighed in on the draft following its submission to the National Assembly and it was especially disappointing to see the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, who tabled the Promulgation Bill before Parliament, essentially abandon the legislation to NAMs and project indifference to the passing of a bill he himself tabled at the National Assembly.”
He criticised the Attorney General for not advancing any convincing arguments to sway members of the National Assembly to support the Bill.
“His performance at the National Assembly and the conduct of the entire executive branch betrays the expressed aspirations of the overwhelming majority of the Gambian people who have taken the time and effort to shape a progressive and forward-looking draft Constitution,” he posited.