We the people of The Gambia,
This draft text is provided in collaboration with International IDEA
We the people of The Gambia,
As a sovereign independent State, having had the opportunity to express our views and aspirations on how we wish to be governed, affirm that this Constitution is the embodiment of our will and resolve for democracy, good governance, separation of powers, sustainable environment and equitable distribution and use of resources, rule of law, equality and observance of the principles of fundamental human rights and freedoms,
Being committed to freedom, justice, accountable government and overall respect for the rule of law, recognise and affirm the principle that all power vest in and emanate only from the sovereign will of the people which shall be respected at all times,
Recognising the value of the enshrined fundamental human rights and freedoms in this Constitution, undertake to ensure the observance of those rights and freedoms,
Recognising and appreciating our values as a people of diversity, collectively declare and affirm our duties and responsibilities as citizens of The Gambia and our love and commitment to each other to foster and promote national unity, cohesion and peace,
In this spirit and in the name of God the Almighty:
ADOPT, ENACT AND GIVE OURSELVES and to our future generations this Constitution as a beacon of hope, stability and national unity, progress, peace and prosperity.
The Gambia consists of the territory of The Gambia and the territorial waters comprising The Gambia and any additional territory and territorial waters as defined by an Act of the National Assembly.
Every person who, immediately before the coming into force of this Constitution, is a citizen of The Gambia, shall, subject to this Constitution, continue to be a citizen of The Gambia and retain the same status as a citizen-
A citizen of The Gambia by birth may hold the citizenship of any other country in addition to his or her citizenship of The Gambia.
A citizen of The Gambia who had lost his or her citizenship of The Gambia as a result of the acquisition or possession of the citizenship of some other country shall, on a written notification to the Minister, have his Gambian citizenship restored.
An Act of the National Assembly may make provision for-
A person who enters or proposes to enter into a relationship with an organ or agency of the State, including a Statutory Body or State Owned Enterprise, whether contractual or otherwise, has a duty-
An Act of the National Assembly shall make provision-
Notwithstanding any other provision in this Constitution, the following rights and fundamental freedoms shall not be limited-
Every person has the right, peaceably and unarmed, to assemble, to demonstrate, to picket, and to present petitions to public authorities or private institutions.
Every citizen of The Gambia of full age and capacity has the right, without unreasonable restrictions—
A person with any disability is entitled-
Every person is entitled to enjoy, practice, profess, maintain and promote any culture, language or tradition subject to the terms of this Constitution and to the condition that the rights protected by this section do not impinge on the rights and freedoms of others or the national interest, especially unity.
Every person has the right to fair labour practices, including the right to form, join, participate, and organise a trade union.
Every person has the right to a clean and healthy environment, which includes the right-
The State shall take measures to ensure the rights of older persons-
The State shall take measures, including affirmative action programmes, to ensure that the youth-
A person who by reason of sickness or any other cause is unable to give his or her consent shall not be deprived by any other person of medical treatment, education or any other social or economic benefit by reason only of religious or other beliefs.
The State shall ensure gender balance and fair representation of women, youth and persons with disabilities-
"member", in relation to the Armed Forces, includes persons who, under the law regulating the discipline of that Force, are subject to that discipline; and
"owner" includes any person deprived of any right or interest pursuant to section 41.
The electoral system shall comply with the following principles—
A person is eligible to contest as an independent candidate for election if the person-
All public elections and all referenda voting shall be by secret ballot.
At every public election, the Independent Boundaries and Electoral Commission shall ensure that-
The Independent Boundaries and Electoral Commission shall as soon as possible, but in any case not beyond seventy-two hours, after the polls are closed-
The President shall not, during his or her tenure of office-
The Vice President and each Minister shall not, during his or her tenure of office-
The Vice President and each Minister shall-
An Act of the National Assembly may make provision for private prosecutions within twelve months of the coming into force of this Constitution.
The Chief Justice shall preside at the election of a Speaker and Deputy Speaker.
The Speaker, Deputy Speaker, Majority Leader, Minority Leader and other members of the National Assembly shall receive such remuneration and benefits, including retirement benefits, as an Act of the National Assembly may prescribe.
Any person who sits or votes in the National Assembly, knowing or having reasonable grounds for knowing that he or she is not entitled to do so, is liable to such penalty as may be prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly, which penalty may be recovered by suit by the Attorney-General.
There is established the National Assembly Service.
The National Assembly Service Commission shall perform the following functions-
The members of the National Assembly shall, at all times-
The High Court has supervisory jurisdiction over all lower courts and adjudicatory authorities in The Gambia, except the Shari’ah Court, and may, in the exercise of its supervisory jurisdiction, issue directions, orders or writs, including writs of habeas corpus, orders of certiorari, mandamus and prohibition as it may consider appropriate for the purposes of enforcing its supervisory powers.
The Shari’ah High Court has supervisory jurisdiction over the Shari’ah Courts and may, in the exercise of its supervisory jurisdiction, issue such directions and orders as it may consider appropriate for the purposes of enforcing its supervisory powers.
The Judicial Service Commission shall, in addition to the functions conferred on it under section 198, have power-
The principles of decentralised government are-
Local government elections shall be held every five years.
Every Seyfo and Alkalo is responsible for maintaining social stability and cohesion in his or her community, and shall not participate in active party politics, or associate or affiliate with, any political party, or express any political views, in the performance of his or her duties.
There shall be an Auditor-General-
On receipt of the report of a Commission of Inquiry—
A witness before a Commission of Inquiry shall be entitled to the same immunities and privileges as if he or she were a witness in proceedings before the High Court.
An Act of the National Assembly may make further provision for the purposes of this Part, and subject to any such Act, the power conferred by any law to make rules of court for the superior courts shall be deemed to include power to make rules regulating the procedure and practice of all Commissions of Inquiry.
An Act of the National Assembly shall provide for the powers and functions of the Commission, which shall include the power to-
Except as otherwise provided in this Constitution or in any other law which is not inconsistent with this Constitution, the Commission shall not, in the performance of its functions, be subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority.
No public officer shall—
Save as provided in this Constitution, a person holding an office in the public service—
The office in the Civil Service with responsibility for personnel matters shall-
The Health Service Commission shall-
The Chief Executive Officer of a State Owned Enterprise shall be appointed by the Board of Directors, through an open and transparent competitive process, following advertisement of the position, and subject to the approval of the National Assembly.
Within six months of the coming into force of this Constitution, an Act of the National Assembly shall establish a body to monitor the operations of State Owned Enterprises, and shall prescribe the manner in which such Enterprises shall-
The Security Services of The Gambia shall include-
The Gambia Police Force shall-
The Inspector-General of Police may be removed from office by the President on the advice of the National Security Council, subject to the approval of the National Assembly, only on the ground of-
The National Security Service Commission shall-
The Government shall, in any matter concerning the development of policies and decision making relating to or affecting the youth specifically, consult the youth to receive their opinions on such policies and decisions.
The qualifications and disqualifications mentioned in section 275 (1) and (2) apply to the members of the Council.
A Bill for the amendment or other alteration of this Constitution which has been passed in accordance with this Constitution, shall not be assented to by the President unless-
In this Chapter—
No power exercised, or an order given, on the basis of an executive directive issued by any person or authority shall be inconsistent with this Constitution or any other law, and any directive issued in that regard shall not be acted upon by any person if the directive is so inconsistent.
This Constitution shall be interpreted in a manner that-
"an Act of the National Assembly" includes an Act of Parliament established under any previous Constitution of The Gambia;
"compulsory retirement age" has the meaning ascribed to it in section 267
"court" means any court mentioned or established under section 173;
"disciplined force" means the Police Force, the Prison Service, the Immigration Service, the Drug Law Enforcement Agency of The Gambia, the Fire and Rescue Service, the State Intelligence Service, the Customs wing of The Gambia Revenue Authority and the Armed Forces, and includes any other force established by an Act of the National Assembly;
"existing laws" means the laws in force in The Gambia immediately before the coming into force of this Constitution, other than any such laws which are repealed or revoked on, or immediately before, the coming into force of this Constitution;
"Gazette" means the official gazette of the Government;
"Government" means the executive Government of The Gambia;
"high judicial office" means the office of a judge of a court of unlimited jurisdiction in criminal, civil and Shari’ah matters, or of a court with jurisdiction on appeal from such a court, in some part of the Commonwealth or such other country as the National Assembly may prescribe;
"judge" includes the Chief justice and other judges of the Supreme Court, a judge of the Court of Appeal, a judge of the High Court and a judge of the Shari’ah High Court;
"legal practitioner" means a person entitled to practise as such in accordance with an Act of the National Assembly;
"Local Government Authority" means a city council, a municipality or an area council;
"Minister" includes the Attorney-General;
"oath" includes affirmation;
"ordinarily resident", unless the context indicates otherwise, means being resident in any part of The Gambia permanently or for a specified period or, being a citizen by birth, residing outside The Gambia for an extended period but occasionally (not more than one year apart) visiting The Gambia during the period of residence outside The Gambia;
"prescribed oaths" means such oaths as may be prescribed in this Constitution or by an Act of the National Assembly in respect of the relevant office, and if no such oath is prescribed, means an oath of allegiance to The Gambia;
"public elections" means the election for a President, National Assembly or a Local Government council;
"public office" includes an office the emoluments of which are paid directly from the Consolidated Revenue Fund or directly out of moneys provided by an Act of the National Assembly, and the office of a member of a Local Government Authority or the staff of a Statutory Body or State Owned Enterprise;
"public officer" means a person holding an office in the public service, a person in the service of a Local Government Authority, and a person in the service of a Statutory Body or State Owned Enterprise.
"the public service" means, subject to section 22 (3), a service declared to be, or established as, a public service by or under the section in which it is declared or established;
"session" means the sitting of the National Assembly of The Gambia commencing when it first meets after a general election or after the adjournment of a session and ending when the session is adjourned or the National Assembly stands dissolved;
"State Owned Enterprise" means a body corporate, wholly or partially owned or controlled by the Government, directly or indirectly, and includes any other body or institution specified as such in an Act of the National Assembly; and
"superior court", in relation to the courts of The Gambia, means the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal, the High Court and the Shari’ah High Court.
Notwithstanding any other provision of this Constitution, the provisions of Schedule 3 shall have effect on the coming into force of this Constitution.
For purposes of election to the National Assembly, the members shall be elected from the following constituencies-
In this Schedule-
"existing" means in being or current or, as the case may be, having the force of law or being in operation, immediately before the coming into force of this Constitution.
Except where this Constitution provides otherwise, all rights, duties and obligations, however arising, of the Government or the State and subsisting immediately before the effective date, shall continue as rights, duties and obligations of the Government or the State under this Constitution.
Where a person, by virtue of the office he or she holds, is required to make a disclosure of assets, liabilities or business interest, whether of himself or herself, and the person had not under any existing law made such disclosure before the effective date, the person shall make the disclosure required under this Constitution within three months after the effective date or, if the Anti-corruption Commission has not commenced its work by then, within three months after the commencement of work by the Commission.
The National Assembly shall, upon the establishment of the Commission referred to in paragraph 17 and for each subsequent year thereafter while the Commission remains established, provide adequate funding to the Commission to enable the Commission to efficiently and effectively carry out its functions.
Save as otherwise specified in this Schedule, all other provisions of this Constitution take effect from the day after the date of adoption of this Constitution at a referendum.