By Ramatoulie Jawo
The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Dawda A. Jallow, informed National Assembly Members (NAMs) that his office is not developing or creating a new draft constitution.
“It is important to note that the Ministry is not developing or creating a new Draft Constitution, we are meditating on the contentious issues raised by the Honourable Members during the debate of the Draft Constitution to reach a consensus. Following the failure of the Draft Constitution to pass the third reading, we realized that there was a minimal emphasis on engagement with political actors.
“This gave rise to an urgent need to initiate political dialogue. In this regard, mediation was seen as the most decidable option. The Attorney General has been given cabinet approval to negotiate the last mediation of the Draft Constitution with the political actors and other stakeholders,” he said.
The Justice Minister said his office felt the need to engage with its traditional partners and, as such, reach out to International Idea and international NGOs which have done a lot of work in the Gambia and internationally in constitutional matters.
He said their choice of International Idea is due to the belief that being an independent institution and having the expertise in the constitutional building process, it is their best partner to accompany them in the mediation process.
“Giving that there is consensus on most of the provisions of the Draft Constitution, the issue that has reasons now is the amendment of the contentious issues. The two options circulated at the moment are for either the Ministry of Justice to update the Draft before sending it to the National Assembly or for the Draft to be sent to the National Assembly in its current form and subsequently be updated at the level of the house,” he said.
The Justice Minister said the International Idea has secured funding to commence the process of reviving the draft.
He said one of the conditions presently is for them to set up a country office. He said that process is currently in the final stages, saying that they are confident that the work of reviving the Draft Constitution will begin at the end of the quarter.