The supporting role being played by a former president, Goodluck Jonathan, towards reviving the stalled constitutional review process in The Gambia has begun to bear fruits, an official has said.
A statement, on Monday, from Adebayo Olukoshi, boss of International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA), the agency that provides the main technical backup to the mission, said political parties and parliamentarians are determined to cooperate and resolve the challenges standing in the way of adopting a new constitution for the people of The Gambia.
Mr Jonathan who was invited to The Gambia last December returned to Banjul in the first week of January to continue to facilitate the consultations for advancing the interparty dialogue towards garnering the required parliamentary support for a draft constitution meant to give the people of the country a new republic.
The release noted that Mr Jonathan’s intervention has succeeded in producing the trade-offs among the stakeholders that made it possible for them to agree on many of the points debated and how to move the process forward.
He added that the concessions “provide a strong foundation on which to build further in order to give the people of The Gambia the constitutional framework they deserve for advancing their democratic aspirations”, adding that next steps towards this the desired outcome will be pursued over the coming days and weeks.
The former president is said to have been able ”to inspire the kind of confidence and trust that created the atmosphere for the Government, political party leaders, parliamentarians, civil society leaders and other stakeholders in The Gambia to return to the negotiating table and reconsider the draft constitution”.
Mr Olukoshi said: “His Excellency former President Jonathan saluted the unalloyed commitment displayed by the political leaders who took an active part in the discussions in striving to unlock obstacles towards the adoption of a new national constitution for The Gambia.
“He (Jonathan) welcomed the show of political will that was in evidence during the discussions, including openness to dialogue, the embrace of a spirit of compromise, and the display of a high sense of personal leadership.”
During the course of his visit, as with the previous one in December 2020, Mr Jonathan held meetings, both bilateral and in various plenary sessions, with key political leaders and a cross-section of Gambian civil society, including faith leaders.
He also had a private working discussion with President Adama Barrow and an interactive session with some of the development partners of The Gambia.
Giving further details on the mission, the statement said: “Over the period from 07 to 11 January 2021, and in continuation of an invited mission that was launched in mid- December 2020, His Excellency Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, was in The Gambia to meet with the leaders of political parties and other stakeholders as part of ongoing efforts to advance the country’s constitutional reform process. The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) provided the main technical backup to the mission while the Office of the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice of the Republic of Gambia assisted with facilitation services.”
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