Dr. Ismaila Ceesay
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An establishing member of the opposition Citizens’ Alliance has urged civil society organisations and politicians to put coercion on President Adama Barrow to speed up the draft constitution to the National Assembly.
Dr Ismaila Ceesay, a political science lecturer at the University of The Gambia said the president cannot joke with the draft constitution as aversed to the 1997 draft constitution.
Dr Ceesay’s comment is the most recent among many Gambians who said they have a suspicion President Barrow may use the Covid-19 pandemic to hold up passing the draft to the assembly and then later to a public vote.
Many others suggest that the President may not be happy with the arrangement which states that the term of the coming into force of the constitution should count as the first term of the current president under the two term-limit provision.
“So, this means that the current president can only serve for a maximum of ten years. He can’t serve more than ten years. In other countries this clause has been left open leading to much controversy. We made a lot of research in this very carefully and listened to what the people have said to us and we have consulted our experts on this subject and there was unanimity at the research and the consultation stage that this is something we needed to address,” Justice Cherno Jallow, the chairman of the Constitutional Review Commission had said when the draft was ready sometime back.
However, speaking to The Standard yesterday, Dr Ceesay further commented: “This draft was sent to the public at the same time it was to the president. So we know what is in the Constitution. The concerns that they might come up with tactics to delay the process might be well founded but one thing we expect the Barrow government to do as soon as possible is to take the necessary actions needed to expedite this to the National Assembly and also come up with a comprehensive timetable from here to 2021.”