By Omar Bah
Justice Cherno Sulayman Jallow, the chairperson of the Constitutional Review Commission, yesterday told journalists that the commission will publish the first draft of the new constitution this morning.
“It is my pleasure to let you know that having now drafted the new constitution, we are in a position to publish the new draft this Friday. We will share the draft online and also have hard copies available,” Jallow disclosed at CRC workshop for journalists.
The chairman further disclosed that the first draft will allow Gambians the opportunity to provide comments in a very constructive way on whether the CRC has been able to meet their aspirations.
He said during the process of drafting the constitution, they had“tonnes of views” expressed by the general public and other stakeholders.
“But we had to look at every single one of those opinions in order to see those that merited constitutional consideration. We also looked at international best practices with regard to a constitution. We also looked at what constitute the fundamental values of our society,” he noted.
He said when making assessment of the draft, Gambians should not only look forward to what they have suggested to be in the constitution.
“I think what we have responsibility to do as citizens is to establish whether the draft actually outlined or captured the necessary elements for the future governance of this country,” he said.
He continued: “What we want is for Gambians to read the draft constitution to understand it and not to misunderstand. I think that is very important because when you read a document with the view to misunderstand it, you will not understand it from the word go and you may not be in a position to make positive contributions to its finalisation”.
He said the commission will have two weeks of consultation with the general public to present to them the draft for their review, after which the draft will be finalised and sent to the president.
“It is also important to note that our work has been purely professional and independent. We haven’t had anybody trying to lobby openly or secretly. The government has also been extremely helpful during this process,” he said.