By Nelson Manneh
The Constitutional Review Commission (CRC), continues to engage residents of Kulari and neighbouring villages in the Tumana District of the Upper River Region, to hear and receive their contributions towards the review process of the 1997 Constitution.
On Monday November 26th 2018, which was the third day in the second leg of their tour, the CRC team met the people these villages to hear them make suggestions and contributions on what the new Constitution should obtain. Most of the youth in Tumana District who made contributions, said Chiefs and Alkalos should not be appointed by the president, but should instead continue to lead by the traditional line of their appointment, which is through inheritance; that Governors on the other hand, should be elected by the people.
Amadou Manneh a native of Badarie said the new Constitution should make provision for diaspora Gambians to vote, if they have a voter’s card. “Most of these people in the diaspora, contribute immensely towards the development of this country, and should therefore be given the right to contribute during the decision making process of the country,” he said.
Manneh said those prisoners who are citizens, should not deprived from voting. “They should be provided with ballot boxes in prison and allowed to vote,” he said.
“Term limit is a very sensitive and important issue. Our leaders become demi Gods if the stay in power for long. The new Constitution should make provision for them to give chance to others after serving for two terms of five years each, making it ten years altogether,” he said.
Commissioner Yankuba Manjang, the youth representative of the CRC said, citizenship is an important and sensitive issue that needs logical reasoning. Manjang asked his fellow youth if they are satisfied with the previous Constitution’s position on citizenship, and the death penalty too?
Muhammed Sumareh suggests that one should be a Gambian citizen if both parents are Gambians or at least one of them. “This can be by marriage if you get married to a man or woman who is a Gambian.”
Sumareh added that if it comes to naturalization, one should spend a minimum of fifteen years and should have all the requirements without any criminal record, to become a citizen.
On the death penalty Sumareh said if someone kills a person, the individual should be killed. “Not by life in jail, but to be killed instantly. If a person is jailed for life, he can be freed or pardoned by a new president, which is not fair,” he noted.
The Commissioners also engaged the women to seek their opinion on what they think the new Constitution should make provision for.
Meeting and engagements continues on the 27th of November 2018, in Koina and Fatato in the Kantora district of the URR.