CoPG Urges Government to Reinstate 2020 Draft Constitution in Its Original Form

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Celestine Kujabi, Secretary General, CoPG

By: Kebba Ansu Manneh 

The Coalition of Progressive Gambians (CoPG) has renewed its call on the Gambia government to return the much-anticipated 2020 Draft Constitution in its original form without any changes or amendments.

The leading civil society organization in advocacy within the nation urges all progressive Gambians, political parties, civil society groups, pressure groups, and unions—including teachers, students, and drivers—to unite in solidarity. The aim is to bring the 2020 Draft Constitution back into consideration, thereby ensuring trustworthy governance for the present and future generations.

“Following the announcement by President Adama Barrow at the beginning of this year to bring back the 2020 Draft constitution, we, the Coalition of Progressive Gambians, have recently engaged the Ministry of Justice on the same concern and emphasized the urgent demand for the government to bring back the 2020 Draft Constitution in its original form. This implies that the entrenched clauses provided in the constitution must not be amended or changed in any way,” CoPG disclosed in a statement signed by its Secretary General, Celestine Kujabi. 

“It must be noted that these entrenched clauses provide for the realization of the independent function of the institutions that qualify good governance and those entrusted with the responsibilities of executing the functions of those institutions as defined by law. The institutions such as the Independent Electoral Commission, The Auditor General’s office, The National Human Rights Commission, The Anti-Corruption Commission, the Public Service Commission, the Inspector General of Police, and the Presidential term limit, to name a few, the personnel appointed to execute the functions of those institutions based on competence, recommendations and approval of a credible Public Service Commission and National Assembly, are of great concern to all progressive Gambians.”

CoPG reiterated that the organization will not relent in demanding the government to bring back the 2020 Draft Constitution and will do everything possible to ensure that this specific demand, which is among their nine-point demands presented to the government in 2022, is met, arguing that based on President Adama Barrow’s own promised at the beginning of this year then it’s time to realize the necessary preparatory steps needed for a referendum to take place this year. 

The President and his government need to come to the realization that the demand by Gambians for an overhaul of the previous political system is the reason for his election to office and the spending of millions on the Draft Constitution. Therefore, failure to adopt a new system through the 2020 Draft Constitution could signal an end to his rule as was with the former government. This is a critical point that cannot be ignored.

It added: “The Coalition of Progressive Gambians seize this opportunity to inform the government that it is prepared to engage in all necessary activities and measures and under legal means to ensure the 2020 Draft Constitution is read and passed for a referendum. The office of the IGP must not allow to be fiddled with an outdated Public Order Act, a scarecrow, and be used against its own people. Moreover, the office must be reminded that intimidation, suppression, and violation of the rights of people will never go unaccounted and unpunished.”

The Civil Society Organisation persists in threatening that if the 2020 Draft Constitution is not reinstated and a referendum is not planned by November 2024, it will mobilize Gambians for a nationwide protest, regardless of permit status, and will refuse any dialogue to delay or call off the protest.

“The Coalition of Progressive Gambians also wishes to call on all progressive Gambians, Political parties, civil society organizations, and pressure groups, the teacher’s union, student’s union, driver’s union, and all other unions to join in solidarity with us in our effort to get the 2020 Draft Constitution in place for a credible good governance and for posterity,” CoPG stated in it’s statement to the government.

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