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 The Inter Gambian Political Bargain
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toubab1020



11145 Posts

Posted - 25 Feb 2021 :  12:22:30  Show Profile Send toubab1020 a Private Message  Reply with Quote

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https://www.chronicle.gm/abuja-a-first-glimpse-at-the-inter-gambian-political-bargain/
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Abuja – A First Glimpse At The Inter Gambian Political Bargain


Former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has this Tuesday begun, in Abuja, a collective review of the progress registered in the inter-party dialogue on the draft Constitution with Gambian politicians including UDP leader Ousainu Darboe, GDC’s Mamma Kandeh, CA’s Dr Ismaila Ceesay, GAP’s Musa Ousainou Yali Batchilly, GMC’s Mai Ahmad Fatty, GANU’s Sheikh Tijan Hydara, GFA’s research and analysis unit chairman Alhaji Tamsir Njie, APRC’s Musa Amul Nyassi and NPP’s Seedy Njie and a representative of Tango.

While some specific recommendations were made in January, during Jonathan’s second visit in The Gambia, the Gambian party leaders are exchanging their views on what progress was made so far.

The Abuja discussions are reviewing the concessions each of the political actors has made since December to lift the deadlock on the retroactivity of President Adama Barrow’s term in office in relation with the provisions of the new Constitution if adopted.

From the ongoing discussions, President Goodluck Jonathan hopes to snatch and seal a final agreement before his next meeting in Banjul with these Gambian political leaders.
Goodluck Jonathan and his Gambian Guests on Monday night in Abuja

The former Nigerian President has therefore asked his Gambian guests to consider any outstanding issues that could be included in the agenda of the session scheduled to be hold in Banjul in three weeks from now, for full discussion by the party leaders.

The Nigerian negotiator hopes to build chances of obtaining a political consensus and a deal on the adoption of a new constitution during his third mission scheduled in the course of the first half of March 2021.

On Monday night in Abuja, Goodluck Jonathan expressed his “appreciation to the government and people of The Gambia for the moral support offered to the inter-party dialogue to date”.

In as much as former President Goodluck Jonathan is working with the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) on his mediation efforts, he is also in constant touch with current Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on the progress recorded so far with the Gambian constitutional review process.

"Simple is good" & I strongly dislike politics. You cannot defend the indefensible.

Momodou



Denmark
10123 Posts

Posted - 25 Feb 2021 :  18:32:39  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Blame Game Follows Collapse Of Talks On Draft Constitution In Abuja

FEBRUARY 25, 2021

Mamos Media
Alagi Yorro Jallow


https://www.mamostv.tv/blame-game-follows-collapse-of-talks-on-draft-constitution-in-abuja/


Fatoumatta: We are not out of the woods yet of trying to resuscitate the 2020 Draft constitution ushering in a Third republic era of the sovereign Gambian people. Today’s dailies headline is one filled with sarcasm and humor, but perhaps not surprising to some of us at least. According to The Standard, “Abuja Constitution Talks Collapse.”
It is quite clear that the Abuja Draft constitution parley of opposing Gambian political actors has been exhibiting ambivalence over the direction they want to take in the consultative process with former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan’s efforts to a new life into the Draft constitution. The list of proposed Draft constitutional “amendments clauses” highlighted at the negotiations on its face seems not to have broken the deadlock on the procedure for bringing back alive the 2020 Draft constitution rejected by the National Assembly.

However, Dr. Jonathan’s mission is to help facilitates the constitutional transition process that remains in deadlock. The move is meant to support the country’s ongoing constitutional review process and facilitate the process of forging a workable national consensus for a new constitution.

Essential among the contiguous issues highlighted for consensus is the retro activeness of the Two Term Limit of the President, Citizenship, Residency to contest elections, Age Limit, Recall Clause of National Assembly Members, etc.
P
Fatoumatta: Political narratives make a unity of purpose possible among human beings with multiple shades of differences in perspective and opinion in their natural freedom of thought. Furthermore, that is what makes a narrative a potent political tool. In the hierarchy of ideas, a narrative has a shorter half-life than an ideology, mainly because a narrative is reactionary; it relies on agitating against an unpleasant reality or concept for relevance, while an ideology relies on its guiding value alone for relevance. A narrative is increasingly useful in modern politics, where governance is complexly multifaceted and challenging to explain in a simple to understand way. Politicians who need to avoid explaining their agenda in a way that would be subject to scrutiny, and politicians who wish to comprehensively wrap their opponents in a single unpopular detail of their person or governance, real or perceived, find narratives very convenient.

A political narrative is like a dye. It colors everything doused in it. Narratives also politicize things that are meant to be apolitical. Moreover, the politicizing stain of a narrative on an apolitical concept can endure and accompany it throughout its relevant life. However, unless we remain vigilant, many of the inconspicuous ideas earlier sneaked into the Draft constitution ( the contentious retroactive clause of the two term-limit) have returned and legitimized as part of the foremost constitutional consultative process to the Draft constitution.

Fatoumatta: There are severe contradictions in the 2020 Draft constitution. The laws cannot be made retrogressively. Therefore, the counting of current President’s tenure, Mr. Adama Barrow, cannot begin in 2017. In the interest of the rule of Law, the counting should begin in 2021. The term, if we follow the Law, has to commence in 2021.
Retrospective legislation is undemocratic as its effects tend to fall before the actual democratic process, making it incompatible with the values of a democratic society.
It is, of course, too early to take any firm positions at this stage of the Abuja parley between opposing sides in for a constitutional armistice. We need to see the Abuja constitutional talk parley’s amendment clauses and draft resolutions calling for the resuscitation of the 2020 Draft constitution, effectively repealing the 1997 constitution before digging in. When those draft amendment resolutions and clauses are in the public domain, we should all go through them with our fine tooth-combs.

Draft resolutions and amendments clauses that are self-serving (like challenging the elongation of the current President’s tenure, a principal contentious retroactive clause of the two term-limit ) should be pronounced dead even before they arrive.
Dogmatic as this position would first appear to be, there is a simple reason for taking it. The Gambia is currently in turmoil. One undeniable explanation for the uproar is President Barrow’s (yet intended to serve beyond 2026) decision into the Presidency. It will be irrational (and, in fact, suicidal) to side-step this controversy and move on to create another one.

Fatoumatta: The President and his supporters genuinely believe that the 2020 Draft constitution discriminates against the President to run for another term. Fine! Mr. President should run in 2021 based on his performance to-date. His political opponents should not plunge the country deeper into crisis by doing anything that even remotely implicates drafters of the constitution bias and in a back-door exclusionary legal plot of denying President Adama Barrow not elongating his one-term limit.
To acquire consensus, a constitution must not generate a political outcome that may be unnecessarily undesirable to the political protagonist. Although retrospective legislation may be seen as a ‘necessary evil,’ especially under abnormal conditions, there are no such conditions in The Gambia to warrant such arbitrary legislation.

Fatoumatta: The only way to uphold the principle of fairness is to desist from changing the rule in the middle of the game. Imagine, with less than eight months to another presidential election. We suddenly get it into our heads to resuscitate the Draft constitution talks centered on the contentious retroactive clause of the two term-limit among others.! Who is kidding who? It is objectionable to give retrospective effect to Section 102 of the constitution, which will have an impinging effect on the term limit of the current President. Retrospective application of Law will unfairly impose liability on individuals where no such liability existed. This is contrary to the Rule of Law, as individuals should not be penalized under ex post facto laws.

The 2020 Draft constitution is not perfect. Which country’s constitution is perfect anyway? The Draft constitution’s primary limitation is its elite bias and its failure to reflect the People’s wishes and aspirations. That flaw will not be removed by the process now contemplated by the Jonathan Draft constitutional mediation. For one thing, the constitutional talks are a creature of the Presidency, not of the Gambian People. Second, unless its resolutions for constitutional mediation and amendment begin with what I would call the First Amendment, the proposed “amendment” would be no different from the previous–elite-driven–amendments. By the First Amendment, I mean one that shifts the center of the constitution, makes gravity from the government to the People, and explicitly provides contentious constitutional issues settled by plebiscites/referenda.
Fatoumatta: First Amendment would naturally have to be duly moved, debated, and passed by the National Assembly. The People should also participate actively in the amendment and consultative process.

For now, let us keep our eyes peeled and our senses alert! The price of liberty is vigilance! A narrative thrives on acrimony. There are necessarily victims and villains in a narrative’s world, which can create where there may be none to make itself and its champions relevant.

A political narrative is intolerant to nuances and diversity of opinion. It is a ruthless tool for unifying people and emphasizes unity over sincerity. This unity is seen as the weapon to defeat the undesirable antagonist, and anyone with misgivings about the narrative is a sympathizer with the enemy. Narrative champions tend to be totalitarian, surrounded by yes people; or themselves, the yes people uncritically loyal to the narrative’s leading champion.

Fatoumatta: A political narrative is paranoid and becomes murderous or violent when confronted with the prospect of defeat. It also justifies acts of cruelty and lawlessness, which are seen as necessary for its thrift and triumph. Narratives are contestant in nature but do not accept defeat. Narratives make people impossible to converse with; irreconcilable, energized, and united with like-minded ones to fight to the death for the common cause, with firm but poorly reasoned conviction. Furthermore, yes, narratives kill and cost lives, no doubt.

A clear conscience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone
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toubab1020



11145 Posts

Posted - 25 Feb 2021 :  19:57:37  Show Profile Send toubab1020 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
"The mediator Jonathan Goodluck is expected to return to Banjul next month for further talks with the parties."


==========

https://standard.gm/abuja-constitution-talks-collapse-0/

==========
ABUJA CONSTITUTION TALKS COLLAPSE


By Omar Bah

The Standard has been reliably informed that the much-talked-about Gambia constitutional talks in Abuja, Nigeria, have been put off after the discussants failed to reach agreement on whether President Barrow’s current term should be counted as the first of two terms, among others.

The meeting was part of a mediation process brokered by former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan to get the stakeholders to agree on the draft constitution which was voted down in the National Assembly last September.

More than half-a-dozen political leaders and representatives of parties are in Abuja for the talks. They include Ousainu Darboe of UDP, Hamat Bah of NRP, Mamma Kandeh of GDC, Sheikh Tijan Hydara of Ganu, Seedy Njie of NPP, Mai Fatty of GMC and Dr Ismaila Ceesay of CA.

Last night, one of the participants at the talks told The Standard: “There is still no agreement on the retroactive clause of the [president’s current] term. The other bone of contention is the method to reintroduce the draft constitution to the National Assembly. While some want the agreed amendments to be put in the draft before it is reintroduced by the minister of justice, others suggested it should be returned to the people through the CRC. Some prefer the draft to be returned to the assembly for the lawmakers to effect the necessary changes.”

‘Legitimate’

Meanwhile, the leader of the GMC, Mai Fatty has reacted to critics who said the whole exercise is unnecessary and an affront to The Gambia’s sovereignty. Fatty defended the talks as “necessary and legitimate”.

“There is no legitimate length to which I will not go to revive the draft constitution because I represent the enthronement of democratic principles and practices in The Gambia and Africa. The venue of the talks is less important as to the outcomes of the negotiations. There are different explanations as to why the draft failed in parliament. The blame game will get us nowhere. It is important to find a route away from that cul-de-sac. That is to say, we must not just develop negative emotions and do nothing further. We should rise above negative sentiments; re-engage each other as brothers and sisters to get the draft back on track. There may be different ways of achieving that, and we should explore all positive avenues,” Fatty told The Standard from Abuja.

He added: “Adopting inflexible, extreme, uncompromising attitude on this matter of the draft constitution serves no one’s interests. When there are deep differences on matters of principle, it’s sometimes helpful to allow a credible neutral party to facilitate understanding. That is why I am in Abuja”.

Dialogue, Fatty argued, is always the best option. “As long as we continue talking to each other, at some point we will understand each other. It’s all about a Gambian family political conversation being facilitated by friends of The Gambia. The sovereign decision remains ours. No one will make decisions for us in Abuja. Whatever the outcomes of the Abuja talks, I am sure it will be purely a sovereign decision by Gambians represented,” he assured.

“The CRC,” he defended, “did a good job, and produced an enduring draft for posterity.”

“It was the culmination of the historic broad-based national consultation. Gambian taxpayers paid D116 million for a draft, but most importantly, they invested their hopes and aspirations in it. It would be unconscionable to fail the future of our country. Reviving the draft constitution is about consolidating the gains of democracy. I will go to the moon and sit with anyone if I strongly believe that will serve the national interest,” he stressed.

The mediator Jonathan Goodluck is expected to return to Banjul next month for further talks with the parties.

"Simple is good" & I strongly dislike politics. You cannot defend the indefensible.
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Momodou



Denmark
10123 Posts

Posted - 28 Feb 2021 :  13:38:01  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Whatever It Takes To Get A New Constitution

By D. A. Jawo


The hottest topic in this country today is no doubt the ongoing efforts to resuscitate the 2020 Draft Constitution, which failed in September 2020 to garner the two-thirds majority it needed to pass in the second reading in the National Assembly.
We can all recall that, apart from the APRC members wanting to preserve their Supreme Leader’s constitution, the others who voted to kill the draft were supporters and sympathizers of President Adama Barrow and their main objection to the draft was its retro-active nature, which sought to deny him the opportunity to seek a third term in 2026 if ever he wins his re-election bid later this year. We all saw how everyone in the Barrow camp, both in and outside the National Assembly, were jubilating when the draft was thrown out. It was therefore quite clear to everyone that the whole scheme was hatched and executed at the State House.
Of course, most Gambians and indeed friends of the Gambia were quite disappointed by the failure of the draft constitution to get enacted, especially considering the fact that it was not only a byproduct of an extensive public consultation, but it also cost the Gambian tax payers more than D100 million to produce the draft. It is still quite hard for any reasonable person to see the rationale of throwing away such an expensive document simply because President Barrow wants to be given the opportunity to cling on to power for at least 15 years.
It is even harder to understand when at the very onset; President Barrow himself gave an undertaking that he was only going to serve three years as a transitional president. Therefore, if he later changed his mind, apparently after getting intoxicated by the trappings of power, and decided to serve the full five-year term allowed by the 1997 Constitution, everyone would have expected him to be grateful for being given the opportunity to go for a second five-year term. Why would he therefore clamour for more to the extent that he would even incite his sympathizers in the National Assembly to kill the document at the second reading, thus denying even the Gambian public the opportunity to have their say over it?
It now appears that, apparently as a result of the pressure being applied on his government by donor partners, President Barrow has regretted his mishandling of the process and he is now eager to get the draft re-introduced and passed. However, he still seems to insist on his ‘Pound of Flesh’, which is to be given the opportunity to rule this country for at least 15 years instead of the maximum ten years everyone had been advocating for the New Gambia.
The question that everyone seems to ask however is whether it was really necessary to invite President Goodluck Jonathan to come all the way from Nigeria to mediate in the process of re-introducing the draft constitution to the National Assembly when all that President Barrow could have done was to invite the various stakeholders to discuss the matter and come to a consensus. Therefore, many people feel that it was a waste of time and resources to invite an outsider to help us do that, as the draft is a Gambian document, drafted by Gambians and there was absolutely no need to involve anyone else in the process.
Indeed, if the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly had not turned down the motion moved by Halifa Sallah, Member for Serekunda, to rescind the decision of the National Assembly to vote against the draft at the second reading, there may not have been any need for the process led by President Jonathan.
Therefore, the proposal by Halifa Sallah would have been the easiest way forward as it would have given opportunity to everyone to partake in the process until a consensus is obtained, of course with far less cost than bringing in “experts” from Nigeria.
Recently, for instance, we have seen how some people were outraged when some of our political leaders travelled to Nigeria at the invitation of President Jonathan in order to discuss the process. However, now that the Jonathan process has been initiated and no doubt, some resources have been committed to it, then the stakeholders should as well give it a chance. The Gambian public should also give our political leaders the chance to reach a consensus in the process.
Therefore, the trip to Nigeria should not have been seen as an unnecessary venture but as a genuine attempt by those concerned to arrive at a consensus, which would eventually give us the Constitution that we all aspire for. Indeed, even if it means allowing President Barrow to have his wish to be given the opportunity to go for a third term would get us the constitution that we all clamour for, then so be it. We should not underrate the ability of the Gambian public to make their ultimate choice as to whom they want to rule over them. Even if President Barrow wants to be in office for a “billion years”, the people still have the final say as they had shown to Babili Mansa in 2016.
There are however, those who suspect that President Barrow and his enablers are playing some delaying tactics in order to ensure that the 1997 Constitution is the one to be used for the 2021 presidential elections, They seem to have the hope that he has a much better chance to finish ahead of his challengers as that constitution only requires a first pass the post. Whatever the case however, it is incumbent on all Gambians, including members of the opposition, to do whatever necessary to help in the process to resuscitate the 2020 Draft Constitution.
Of course, time is fast running out for the possibility of saving the draft before the next presidential elections scheduled for December 4, 2021, as the process should pass through the National Assembly and then approved in a referendum before it is enacted into law. However, as a last resort, in the event that a new constitution fails to get enacted before the elections, if indeed President Barrow and his government are quite sincere to ensure free and fair elections, then they should at least make some amendments to certain provisions of the 1997 Constitution in order to make it a little bit more acceptable to the people.
For instance, we can recall that Section 48 of the 1997 Constitution before it was amended by the Jammeh regime required a candidate to obtain 50 per cent plus before one is elected as president in the first round. Therefore, why not re-amend that section as well as institute a two-term limit? As those sections are not entrenched, it would be quite simple for the National Assembly to carry out such amendments before the elections.

A clear conscience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone
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Momodou



Denmark
10123 Posts

Posted - 28 Feb 2021 :  18:32:11  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message  Reply with Quote
By Dr. Karamba Touray
Adama Barrow willfully and with malice scuttled the people’s draft constitution that cost Gambian taxpayers D116million. There is absolutely no disagreement about that . The only way to address this awful treachery he has perpetrated on the Gambian people is for him to personally and publicly reverse himself , resubmit the draft as it is and let the owners of the draft ( the people ) decide its fate . No Gambian with a conscience or his representative will allow Adama Barrow to defy the expressed will of the Gambian people and then reward him by acceding to his asinine request to alter the draft to suit his personal desires and fantasies.
It is a morally bankrupt argument to say the country must give in to the demands of a single person to save their constitution. That argument turns our country into a hapless and pal-liable hostage to the whim of one man . Completely unacceptable. Nations do not give into any attempt at hostage taking . Another fallacy I see out there is an attempt to weave a moral equivalency between those who deliberately scuttled the draft and those who strongly and publicly defended it in a bid to justify accommodating the selfish personal demand of the president as a necessary price to safe the rest of the draft . That kind of an argument cannot stand any test of propriety in the way it immorally substitutes the people’s expressed will with the personal desire of Adama Barrow . Why should Gambia bend to the desires of Adama Barrow in the construction of our binding document for our two million citizens ? The suggestion alone is an outrage not to mention the idea that it ought to be the price for the people to get their constitution. Why must the objective standard of right and wrong be sacrificed to accommodate the personal desire of a manifestly failed leader ? It can’t and won’t be done by anyone who values truth .
Finally , I hear some say we should bend to the desire of the president and delete the retroactive clause that counts his current term and let him have his way because if he is defeated in December, his greed would become irrelevant because he will be out of office anyway . The problem with that argument is that it subordinates the expressed will of the majority to the greed of one person . It is irrelevant whether that desire is actualized or not . Constitutions are binding documents for nations not personal certificates of appreciation for individuals. Only insipid Banana Republics tailor make constitutions to suit one person to lord over them . It is the duty of every patriot to defend the constitution they believe in to the letter and on the draft that Adama Barrow and his minority faction scuttled , we must stand with its defenders . Do not listen to wissy wassy briefcase politicians with nothing more than IEC registration certificates tell you they will transact your expressed will as was captured in the scuttled draft constitution to Adama Barrow and give you one that is catering to the personal desire of that failed president . They don’t speak for anyone beyond themselves . We must insist on our draft as was submitted to parliament or nothing . Let the people decide in December .

A clear conscience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone
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