Wednesday, February 8

Moot Constitutional Review Process Takes Shape After Wednesday Plenary

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The Chronicle has it, from credible sources, that the ill faith Gambian constitutional review process is likely to remain moot despite the discussions on course by Gambian political parties, under the mediation of former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan. The wide disconnect between the extreme demands, formulated by some stakeholders, have become too obvious during Wednesday’s plenary discussions.

The gloomy outcome awaiting the revival of the constitutional review process is said to be the polarized and extremely divergent positions between the two main stakeholders in the discussions.

On one side, there is President Adama Barrow, essentially hooking himself to radical demands like his first term not being accounted for in a new constitution, but also his refusal to accept that State House appointees be confirmed by the National Assembly as well district chiefs earning their positions from elections instead of the State House appointing them.

Not only President Adama Barrow has always gone mute on these issues but he seems not to be bothered by the clock ticking, ahead of the December elections. In fact, President Adama Barrow has announced a private trip in Senegal today Thursday 11th March, followed by his annual 14-day vacation in his home village of Mankamangkunda, when every Gambian believes he has the solution to the progress of the constitutional review process.

On the other hand, the United Democratic Party (UDP) leader, Ousainou Darboe, has now evolved to a more radical request. The UDP leader asks that the rejected constitution be returned to the National Assembly for adoption, without any change in its original form, and as it was presented to Gambians by the Constitutional Review Commission.

This means that UDP is now unwilling to make any single concession on President Adama Barrow’s radical demands, contrary to the other 13 political parties in the dialogue that have expressed their desire lose grip on some of their demands to strike a consensus.

To add to the confusion, The Chronicle has learned that the two factions of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) appeared at the plenary discussions. Touma Njie’s camp and Kebba Jallow’s faction, claimed each to represent PPP at the session.

Meanwhile, the general perception from the Gambian media and some independent observers is that after the rejection of the draft constitution, both NPP and UDP seem to prefer the status quo that enables the leader of either of these big parties to win the presidency, with a simple majority in the December poll. The fiasco or success of the Jonathan led discussions will be known today.

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