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Gambia: HOW WAS THE CONSTITUTIONAL REVIEW COMMISSION ESTABLISHED?

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“BY AYESHA”

1. HOW WAS THE CONSTITUTIONAL REVIEW COMMISSION ESTABLISHED?

The Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) is established by an Act of the National Assembly of The Gambia known as The Constitutional Review Commission Act 2017. The CRC was formally established as a body in June, 2018. The Members of the CRC were appointed with effect from 1st June, 2018; the Members were sworn into office by the President on 4th June, 2018.

2. HOW LONG DOES THE CRC HAVE TO COMPLETE ITS WORK?

The CRC is required to complete its work within a period of eighteen (18) months. Where the need arises, the President may extend the term of the CRC to a period not exceeding six (6) months, upon the recommendation of the Chairperson of the CRC. 

3. WHO ARE THE MEMBERS OF THE CRC? / WHAT IS ITS COMPOSITION?

The CRC comprises 11 Members made up of a Chairperson designated by the Chief Justice, a Vice Chairperson nominated by the Minister of Justice and 9 other Members nominated by the President. All of them were appointed by the President. The members are:

• Justice Cherno S. Jallow, QC (JSC) – Chairperson 
• Hawa K. Sisay-Sabally – Vice Chairperson 
• Amie Joof-Cole – Member
• Yankuba Dibba – Member
• Janet R. Sallah-Njie – Member
• Salimatta Touray – Member
• Lamin Camara – Member
• Dr. Melville George – Member
• Fatoumata Jallow – Member
• Gaye Sowe – Member
• Yankuba Manjang – Member 
4. WHAT QUALIFIED THE MEMBERS TO BE APPOINTED TO THE CRC?

 

The qualifications for the appointment of the CRC Members are set out in the Constitutional Review Commission Act, 2017. The Members are persons of high professional and moral integrity, with qualification and experience in varied fields that are considered relevant to aid the constitutional review process. All members have a voting right. 

5. WHAT IS THE WORK/MANDATE OF THE CRC?

CONSTITUTIONAL REVIEW COMMISSION

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS [FAQs]

The main functions of the CRC are to review and analyze the current Constitution, draft a new Constitution for the Republic of The Gambia and prepare a report in relation to the draft Constitution. The report will outline the processes engaged in reviewing and drafting a new Constitution and provide the rationale for the provisions contained in the new Constitution. 

6. HOW DOES THE CRC INTEND TO CARRY OUT ITS WORK/MANDATE?

The CRC will carry out its assignment in accordance with the requirements and guidelines provided in the Constitutional Review Commission Act, 2017. It will also engage such other processes, as are not inconsistent with the provisions of the Act, as it considers appropriate. In this context, therefore, the CRC will hold focused and thematic discussions with different stakeholders, consult widely with the general public and conduct civic education on the constitution-making process. 

7. WHAT FORM WOULD THESE DISCUSSIONS AND CONSULTATIONS TAKE?

 

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The CRC will adopt different approaches during the constitutional review process. It will invite various stakeholders to submit contributions/suggestions to be considered in the constitution reform process. It will also hold direct face-to-face dialogue with Gambians and other persons who have an interest in the constitution making process of The Gambia. In addition, the CRC will establish its own Website and create a platform through which persons may submit contributions/suggestions on constitutional reform. 

8. HOW INCLUSIVE IS THE CONSTITUTIONAL REVIEW PROCESS GOING TO BE?

 

The constitutional review process will be an inclusive one designed to ensure that every Gambian and any other person who can bring value to the constitution-making process has the opportunity to do so. The CRC Act obliges the CRC to afford the people of The Gambia the opportunity to freely express their opinions and make suggestions on matters they feel should be considered in the Constitution. The CRC will therefore go round the country to receive views from Gambians and will visit every constituency in all the Administrative Regions to afford all Gambians the opportunity to give their input in developing a new Constitution for The Gambia. 

9. WILL THIS INCLUSIVE PROCESS EXTEND TO GAMBIANS IN THE DIASPORA?

Yes. Gambians in the diaspora will also be consulted. It is envisaged that the CRC will undertake visits to select countries outside The Gambia with known sizeable concentration of Gambians. In addition, Gambians in the diaspora, whether collectively or individually, will be free to submit contributions/suggestions to the CRC as part of the constitution-making process. 

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10. HOW INDEPENDENT IS THE CRC?

CONSTITUTIONAL REVIEW COMMISSION

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS [FAQs]

The CRC is an independent body. Pursuant to the Constitutional Review Commission Act, 2017, the CRC, in carrying out its work, is not subject to the direction and control of any person or authority. As an institution, it is guided by the following core values:

 INCLUSIVENESS
▪ INDEPENDENCE
▪ INTEGRITY
▪ PARTICIPATION
11. WHAT ARE THE GUIDING PRINCIPLES OF THE CRC?

 

In carrying out its work, the CRC is required by the Constitutional Review Commission Act, 2017 to have regard to national values and ethos and to safeguard and promote the following:

i. The existence of The Gambia as a sovereign independent State;
ii. The Gambia’s Republican system of governance, including democratic values and respect for and promotion of the rule of law and fundamental rights and freedoms;
iii. The separation of powers;
iiii. National unity, cohesion and peace;
v. The importance of ensuring periodic democratic elections based on universal adult suffrage, including the introduction of term limits for serving in the office of the President; and
vi. The Gambia’s continued existence as a secular State.
12. HOW DOES THE CRC CARRY OUT ITS WORK/MANDATE?

The CRC will establish thematic technical committees to assist it with its work. The themes of these committees will include, but not limited to, matters relating to land, the environment and natural resources, public finance, constitutional law and human rights. As part of the process of facilitating its work, including the work of the technical committees, the CRC has established internal working groups to develop strategy documents relating to an action plan and strategic plan, media and communication, monitoring and evaluation, public consultation, and research and documentation. Collectively, these committees will assist the efficient, effective and progressive fulfillment of the mandate of the CRC.

13. IS THERE A SPECIFIC BODY THAT DEALS WITH THE DAY-TO-DAY ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS CONCERNING THE FUNCTIONING OF THE CRC? 

Yes. The Constitutional Review Commission Act, 2017 creates the position of Secretary who heads the CRC Secretariat. The Secretary is responsible for the administration of the CRC Secretariat and for arranging and facilitating the business of the CRC and its technical committees. Support staff  are appointed to assist the work of the CRC.  

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CONSTITUTIONAL REVIEW COMMISSION

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS [FAQs]

14. WHERE IS THE SECRETARIAT OF THE CRC LOCATED?

The Secretariat of the CRC is located at the FUTURELEC building along Bertil Harding Highway. The offices of the Secretariat can be reached through the phone, email, postal address, and website . 

15. HOW IS THE CRC FUNDED?

The CRC receives its funds in two ways: firstly, through funds appropriated or set aside by the National Assembly; and secondly, through funds provided by donor Agencies approved by the Minister of Justice. 

16. WOULD THE ACCOUNTS OF THE CRC BE SUBJECT TO ANY FORM OF AUDITING?

Yes. The CRC is a self-accounting body under the Constitutional Review Commission Act, 2017. It is supposed to manage its own funds which are subject to auditing by the Auditor General. The report of the Auditor General on such auditing is required to be submitted to the National Assembly.

17. WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE CRC COMPLETES ITS ASSIGNMENT?

Upon completion of its work, the CRC will submit a draft new Constitution to the President, together with a Report on the whole review process, including explanation regarding the rationale for the provisions of the Constitution.

18. WILL THE PUBLIC SEE THE DRAFT NEW CONSTITUTION AND THE REPORT WHEN THEY ARE SUBMITTED TO THE PRESIDENT?

Yes. The CRC is mandated under the Constitutional Review Commission Act, 2017 to publish the draft new Constitution and the accompanying Report. After submitting the draft Constitution to the President, the CRC is also required to publish the draft Constitution and the Report in The Gazette, and in any other manner the Commission considers fit.

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