By Yankuba Jallow
As they continue their tour of the country to meet and receive people’s contributions on the proposed new Constitution, many are of the opinion that political parties should declare their sources of funding and should issue financial statements to the IEC. People in the North Bank Region, continue to tell Commissioners of the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC), that the new Constitution should make provision for the President of the country not to appoint or dismiss the Chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC); that the Chief Justice, the Auditor General and the Governor of the Central Bank of the Gambia, should not be appointed by the President of the Republic. In all their meetings, the people continue to suggest that there should be independent established bodies responsible to appoint these persons.
On day eight of their tour, the CRC continues with meetings in villages in the North bank region, since November 5th 2018.
As usual the contribution of the majority of Gambians remains on the topical issues of the term limit of the presidency; the appointment and position of Chiefs and Governors of regions; citizenship; health; agriculture, education, etc. Whilst others agree that the president should be a learned degree holder, some express that the status quo should be maintained as in the current Constitution.
“The president should be a Masters Degree holder. He must be someone who understands issues and how to go about them,” Lamin Colley of Salikeni said.
The eligibility of a dual citizen becoming a president was a divergent issue among contributors. Some said the person should be eligible whilst others give an opposing view.
“They are Gambians and should have the power to elect their leaders. They have a say in the country and we expect the new Constitution to make provision for them to vote,’’ some said. On the second round of voting, people contributed that the new Constitution should make provision for a candidate in any election to have 50+1% of the total votes cast; that this system is the best.
However, people remained undecided as to whether the speaker of the National Assembly should complete the tenure of a president in the absence of the vice president.
“The President should not appoint the Chairperson of the IEC. The Chairperson should be independent of the President. He/she should be seen to be independent and should not be nominated or appointed by the president,” Lamin Colley of Salikenni said.
The tour continues to Sara Kunda and Ngayen Sanjal today.