THE COMMISSION

The Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) is established by an Act of the National Assembly in June, 2018. The Commission’s main functions 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 new Constitution. The Commission’s report will outline the processes engaged in reviewing and drafting the new Constitution and provide the rationale for the provisions contained in the new Constitution.

OUR MANDATE

OUR MANDATE

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 new Constitution. The report will outline the processes engaged in reviewing and drafting the new Constitution and provide the rationale for the provisions contained in the new Constitution.

OUR CORE VALUES

OUR CORE VALUES

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 or control of any person or authority. As an institution, it is guided by the following core values:

  • Inclusiveness
  • Independence
  • Integrity
  • Participation

OUR GUIDING PRINCIPLES

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 safeguard and promote the following:

  • The existence of The Gambia as a sovereign independent State;
  • The Gambia’s Republican systems of governance, including democratic values and respect for and promotion of the rule of law and fundamental rights and freedoms;
  • The separation of powers;
  • National unity, cohesion and peace;
  • The importance of ensuring periodic democratic elections based on universal adult suffrage, including the introduction of term limits for serving in the office of President; and
  • The Gambia’s continued existence as a secular State.

HOW THE COMMISSION WILL EXECUTE ITS 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 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 public and conduct civic education on the constitution-making process.

The CRC will adopt different approaches duringthe constitutional review process. It will invite various stakeholders to submit contributions/suggestions to be considered in the constitutional 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 established its own website and created a platform through which persons may submit contributions/suggestions on constitutional reform.

THE COMMISSIONERS

Get up-close and know more about the Commissioners for the CRC.

The Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) comprises 11 Members made up of a Chairperson designated by the Chief Justice, 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 SECRETARIAT

Know more about the The Secretariat for the CRC.
Head of the Secretariat

Head of the Secretariat

Head of Admin and HR

Head of Admin and HR

Head of Communication

Head of Communication

Head of Programs

Head of Programs

Head of Finance

Head of Finance

SENIOR MANAGEMENT TEAM

Know more about the The Expanded Senior Management Team for the CRC.
Mamudou Suso

Mamudou Suso

Saffiatou Savage Sidibeh

Saffiatou Savage Sidibeh

Amang Sanneh

Amang Sanneh

Edrissa Ceesay

Edrissa Ceesay

Sheriff Grant

Sheriff Grant

Questions & Answers

FAQ

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.

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

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

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.

WHAT IS THE WORK/MANDATE OF THE CRC?

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 new 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.

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 constitutionmaking process.

WHAT FORM WOULD THESE DISCUSSIONS AND CONSULTATIONS TAKE?

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 constitutional 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

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 new 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.

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.

HOW INDEPENDENT IS THE CRC?

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 or control of any person or authority. As an institution, it is guided by the following core values:

  • INCLUSIVENESS
  • INDEPENDENCE
  • INTEGRITY
  • PARTICIPATION

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:

  1. i. The existence of The Gambia as a sovereign independent State;
  2. 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;
  3. The separation of powers;
  4. National unity, cohesion and peace;
  5. The importance of ensuring periodic democratic elections based on universal adult suffrage, including the introduction of term limits for serving in the office of President; and
  6. The Gambia’s continued existence as a secular State.

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.

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.

WHERE IS THE SECRETARIAT OF THE CRC LOCATED?

The Secretariat of the CRC is located at the FUTURELEC building along Bertil Harding Highway in Kotu. The offices of the Secretariat can be reached through 9807525, crcgambia@gmail.com, and www.crc220.gm (under construction)

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.

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.

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.

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.

WHAT IS DEMOCRACY?

The term “democracy” means “rule of the people.” The idea of democracy is based on the full participation of all people in every aspect of government. It is a system in which the people choose their government through a free and fair election. One of the basic goals of a democracy is to protect both the rights of the individual person as well as the well- being of the whole society.

WHAT IS A GOVERNMENT?

A Government is a group or an institution that exercises sovereign authority over a nation, state, society or other bodies. The government of the Gambia is headed by the President.

WHAT ARE THE FUNCTIONS OF A GOVERNMENT?

The functions of a Government are to:

  • protect the rights and liberties of the people;
  • provide social amenities for the people, such as water, electricity, hospitals, schools, etc.;
  • provide jobs for the people;
  • help maintain law and order;
  • help establish and maintain diplomatic relations with other countries; and
  • promote economic growth and development.

WHAT IS A REPUBLIC?

A republic is a system of government in which power is held by the people and their elected representatives. Additionally, a republic has an elected or nominated president.

WHAT IS A CONSTITUTION?

A Constitution is a set of rules and principles specifying how a country should be governed, how power is distributed and controlled, and what rights citizens possess. It is the supreme law from which other laws draw their strength. It is also the means by which the actions of a government and its institutions could be measured or assessed to be legal or not.

WHY DO WE NEED A NEW CONSTITUTION?

During the two decades since the adoption of the 1997 Constitution, there have been numerous amendments to the Constitution to the point of creating uncertainty as regards the correct version of the Constitution. Provisions that have been carefully drafted in the 1997 Constitution to limit the powers of the different arms of the Gambian State were either removed or unduly compromised, resulting in weakened institutions and undermining democratic governance. Thus, the 1997 Constitution is believed to no longer fully represent or protect the original aspirations of the citizenry as was intended by the drafters.

HOW IS A CONSTITUTION MADE?

The writing of a Constitution is entrusted to a Constitution making body. It may be an elected or appointed group of people, small or large. This body performs the work of drafting and negotiating a Constitution, building the consensus that allows different groups to come together and agree on a Constitution that truly reflects the needs and aspirations of the people. Whatever type of Constitution making body is chosen, the process must be sufficiently representative to include groups, such as women and men, the poor as well as the rich, young and old, and minority/ethnic/religious or linguist communities as well as the cultural majority.

Either all these voices must be included in the Constitution making body or the body established must reach out and take heed of all these voices. ‘We the people’ means all of us, so the Constitution making body needs to engage the public in a national debate to seek their opinions to establish their needs and aspirations. Once the final draft is ready, the new Constitution can then be adopted in the name of the people, through a referendum.

HOW CAN I CONTRIBUTE IN MAKING A NEW CONSTITUTION FOR THE GAMBIA?

You can contribute through participation and engagement with the CRC through:

  • public consultations;
  • written suggestions addressed to the CRC;
  • discussions on radio, television and other media outlets; and
  • voting in a referendum.

WHAT ARE THE FUNCTIONS OF A CONSTITUTION?

A Constitution:

  • declares and defines the political community, rights and liberties of citizens, and national identity;
  • establishes and organizes political institutions; and
  • divides or shares power between different branches and levels of government.

WHO IS A CITIZEN?

A citizen is a person who is legally recognized as a member of a state with rights and responsibilities. Citizenship in The Gambia can be acquired by birth, descent, registration or naturalization.

WHAT ARE THE DUTIES OF A CITIZEN.

As a Gambian citizen, you have a duty to:

  • support and defend the Constitution;
  • stay informed of the issues affecting your community;
  • participate in the democratic process;
  • respect and obey State and local laws;
  • respect the rights, beliefs and opinions of others;
  • participate in your local community affairs;
  • pay income and other taxes honestly, and on time, to State and local authorities; and
  • defend the country if the need arises.

WHAT ARE CIVIC RIGHTS?

Civic rights refer to the entitlements of citizens in a State. The rights of citizens are not absolute and must be subjected to just limitations. Each right is therefore accompanied by individual responsibilities and civil obligations. The rights of citizens are usually protected under the Constitution, and these include:

  • freedom from discrimination;
  • equal and impartial treatment before the law;
  • freedom of person and personal integrity;
  • right to privacy;
  • right to property;
  • right to fair trial; protection from slavery and forced labour;
  • freedom from torture;
  • freedom of movement and peaceful assembly;
  • right to a nationality; and
  • freedom of religion and conscience.

WHY SHOULD CITIZENS PARTICIPATE IN THE MAKING OF A CONSTITUTION?

The Constitution should represent the goals and aspirations of citizens of the State. Therefore, it is important that citizens participate in the Constitution making process by offering their views, opinions and concerns regarding the Constitution, to ensure inclusivity. This will also give citizens the chance to have a better say or participation on how they should be governed.

WHAT IS A REFERENDUM?

A referendum is a system of election that allows the people to express their right to vote on national issues through a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ process. This is normally what happens with a new Constitution which is adopted by the people through a referendum.

WHAT IS THE LEGISLATURE

The legislature is the branch of government that is responsible for the making and unmaking of laws in a State. The Legislature in the Gambia is called the National Assembly. The National Assembly consists of 58 members elected from all the 53 Constituencies from all Regions of The Gambia, including 5 members nominated by the President.

WHAT ARE THE FUNCTIONS OF THE LEGISLATURE?

The functions of the Legislature (National Assembly) are to:

  • make laws;
  • approve national budgets;
  • debate and vote on bills; and
  • discuss general State policies and issues.

WHAT IS THE JUDICIARY

The Judiciary is the branch of government that is responsible for interpreting laws made by the Legislature. This means that it exercises the power to say and make clear what the law means. The Judiciary comprises different courts of different hierarchy. In The Gambia, the Judiciary is headed by a Chief Justice and comprises the District Tribunals, Cadi Courts and Magistrate’s Courts (as subordinate courts) and the High Court, Special Criminal Court, Cadi Appeal Panel, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court (as superior courts). The decisions of Court Martials can be appealed to the regular courts.

WHAT ARE THE FUNCTIONS OF THE JUDICIARY?

The Judiciary is responsible for:

  • settling disputes between people;
  • resolving disputes between people and the State;
  • administration of justice and protection of the rights and liberties of people in a State;
  • interpreting the laws;
  • checking the exercise of powers by the Executive and the Legislature through a process called Judicial Review.

WHAT IS THE EXECUTIVE?

The Executive is the body of government responsible for the implementation and enforcement of laws that are made by the Legislature in a State. It is made up of public departments, civil servants, and ministers. The Constitution provides that the President, as Head of State, is the head of the Executive branch of government. The President appoints Ministers and other senior government officials to conduct affairs of the State. These appointments have to be done in accordance with the Constitution.

WHAT IS AN ELECTORAL SYSTEM

An electoral system is a set of rules that determine how elections and referenda are conducted and how their results are determined. The main types of electoral systems are the plurality system and two-round majority runoff system.

  • In plurality systems, the candidates with the highest relative majority wins, regardless of the absolute share of the votes.
  • In the two-round majority runoff system, a candidate must win 50%+1 of the votes to avoid a runoff. If no candidate has this majority, the two leading candidates will go for a second round of election to determine a winner.

WHAT ARE THE FUNCTIONS OF THE EXECUTIVE?

The functions of the Executive include:

  • carrying out the day to day functions of the government;
  • formulating policies of a State;
  • implementing the laws made by the Legislature;
  • preparing national budgets and sending them to the Legislature for approval;
  • entering into agreements on behalf of the State.