Saturday, March 25

GBA President Calls for prioritization of new constitution

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By Mama A. Touray

SalieuTaal, President of the Gambia Bar Association (GBA) has called for the prioritization of a new constitution to replace the 1997 constitution.

 “As a rule of law institution, the Bar is calling for the prioritization of a new constitution to replace the 1997 constitution and the repeal of all the repugnant/undemocratic laws that don’t conform to international human rights norms and values,” he made this call at the opening of the Legal Year 2023 held on Sunday in Banjul.

“We cannot speak of the rule of law if we continue to rely on a body of laws that are designed for a dictatorship. Today in 2023, we still have the same 1997 constitution, the same criminal code, the public order act, the elections decree, and draconian practice directions from the Jammeh Era. 

“The legal order of the previous dictatorial regime is still intact and yet to be supplanted after six years of our transition from a dictatorship in 2017. The Gambia we decided is yet to be realized and it is disheartening to maintain the arsenal of draconian laws from the Jammeh era in our books under our current dispensation,” Mr Taal pointed out.

Responding to the Bar Association President’s statement, President AdamaBarrowsaid “I want to assure you and the people gathered here and the entire Gambian people that we will provide them with a new constitution.”

He added that the new constitution will be called the constitution of the people but not a constitution that will target specific individuals.

Meanwhile, the President of the Gambia Bar Association, SalieuTaal called on the President to personally champion the implementation of the TRRC recommendation to ensure accountability and reconciliation. While added that in Dec 2016 the Gambia turned to a new chapter when Gambians decided to boot out of dictatorship and tyranny under the current president’s leadership. 

Taal stated that it is important to ensure that the TRRC implementation transcends partisan politics and that the quest for justice after the truth-seeking process is recognized as an integral part of coming to terms with the brutal past and saying no to impunity. 

“The Bar will continue to support and complement the efforts of the Government in the implementation of the TRRC recommendations, particularly in the area of criminal accountability,” he noted.