THREE MONTHS AFTER PRESIDENT BARROW HAS TAKEN OVER THE HELM OF AFFAIRS

President Barrow took over the helm of affairs of this country on 19 January 2017. Today is 19 April 2017 three months and running. He was elected based on a manifesto he campaigned on.

Below are some of the commitments made for reform:

The Coalition Government will promote and entrench the sovereignty of the people;

eradicate vestiges of self-perpetuating rule;

empower citizens to defend their sovereignty and to have control over public authority as equal stakeholders;

undertake institutional reforms of the executive, legislature, judiciary, civil service and other oversight institutions such as the office of the Ombudsman and the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC);

establish a body of Jurists and competent personalities to review the constitution with a view to cleansing it of all provisions which are inimical to democracy and the rule of law; review the Elections Act to remove provisions such as prohibitive deposits for Presidential, National Assembly, council and Mayoral elections which hinder citizens from exercising their right to be elected to elective positions.

Section 39 of the 1997 constitution and also sections 11 and 141 of the Elections Act, enfranchise Gambians abroad to vote.

Establish a Constituency Boundaries Commission in compliance with section 50 of the 1997 constitution; Propagate Constitutional amendments to restore the provision of section 48 of the Constitution that makes it a requirement for a Presidential candidate to have more than 50 percent of the valid votes cast before assuming the office of president in the first ballot.

Section 63 (1) of the 1997 Constitution will be subjected to a referendum to introduce the two term limit.

After three months it is good for the Barrow Government to assess and inform the public how much progress has been made on these and other issues. Three years is not a long period and reforms should therefore be a matter of urgency.