8 November 2018

Gambia: Inmates Should Also Have Right to Vote

As the public consultation of the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) gains momentum in Lower Nuimi District of the North Bank Region, Kebba Jagne, a native of Madina Serign Mass has suggested that there should be a provision in the new constitution that will allow prison inmates the right to vote in elections.

"Inmates should be also be given the opportunity to vote in Gambian elections despite the crimes that they might have committed. Their crimes should not deter them from participating in the elections of the country," he said

Mr. Jagne said that the minister of Justice should not be appointed based on partisan ties, adding that they want the new constitution to establish the Teachers' Service Commission.

Local dwellers and CRC members discussed citizenship, the electoral system in The Gambia, IEC, local government, Office of the President, the judiciary system in the country, death penalty and Gambians in Diaspora among others.

Alhagie EssaJoof, a native of Kerr Wally Joof village said there should be a Teachers' Service Commission that will be responsible to look into the issues affecting teachers in the country. Joof opined that every person that is born in The Gambia should be regarded as a Gambian citizen, adding that the death penalty in the constitution should be revoked.

Mbaye Awa Kah- Mufti, the Imam of Medina Sering Mass spoke at length on the significance of the forum, saying that the country should have a democratic government with a two-term limit.

"We want a democratic society where our rights as citizens are fully respected by those in authority. The fundamental human rights in the constitution should be entrenched."

According to him, the office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) should be an independent office, adding that the Office of the Attorney General and that of the minister of Justice should be separated.

Ebrima Chongan, a teacher of Medina Sering Mass School said the president should not have the power to appoint or dismiss the Chief Justice of the country and chairman of IEC. "There should be an independent body that should be responsible for the appointment of the chief justice and the chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission," he suggested.

"The president should disclose personal gifts to the public through the National Assembly and deputy ministers should be re-introduced in The Gambia."

He said the country should also introduce the paper system during elections, saying that Diaspora community should be eligible to vote,taking into account their immense contribution towards national development.

Jarra Leigh, a student of Medina Sering Mass School said the new constitution should provide free education at all levels including the university.

"There are many students who have completed secondary school education with good grades and have been admitted at the University of The Gambia but are facing with the major challenge of paying their tuition fees," she said.

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