Gambians propose two five-year terms for President

Many Gambians are in favour of two five-year terms for the president to be included in the country’s new constitution in the making.

This has been evident as the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) continues its nationwide consultation tour that has so far covered two of the five administrative regions. The Commission is currently holding meetings in the third region.

The CRC staff members who have been divided into teams A and B have recently been holding consultation exercises in towns across the Lower River Regions (LRR).

So far, during the consultation in all the areas covered, many Gambians have agreed on one issue – two five-year term limit for the office of the president.

“The new constitution should have a term limit of ten years maximum, so that if one candidate is voted into office for five years, he/she can have a chance of re-election for another five-year term. This makes 10 years which is enough,” Mr. Sheriff Sanneh from Pakaliba Village in LRR suggested to the CRC.

That way, he added, leaders and people’s representatives can become more accountable and responsible to the needs of their voters.

According to Sanneh, if the constitution does not have a term limit, the possibility of the emergence of “president-for-life” is always very high.

He said such leaders, having served for long, tended to serve the interests of their family members, hangers-on and themselves against the national or collective interests of voters.

The Gambia has never had a presidential term limit in its previous constitutions under the First and Second republics leading to long serving former president Yahya Jammeh clinging to power by all means possible.

The consultation process is part of CRC’s inclusive drive of involving all Gambians in the conversation on what should be or should not be included in the new constitution that is being drafted.