COLUMN | Draft Constitution Section 36: Enabling People’s Exercise of Rights or Entrenching State’s Urge to Curtail Rights?
By Pa Louis Sambou Just when one thinks that all bad news is exhausted, more and more nasty surprises keep emerging from the horizon. One would have expected the media and press fraternity likewise Gambian civil society to promptly zone in on this one but, approval of the draft Constitution by the latter (and passive endorsement cum apathy with respect to it by the former) suggests that they perhaps have not taken notice of what is an extremely concerning provision in the draft Constitution. I speak of section 36 of course which is a completely unprecedented constitutional concept in our jurisdiction. Section 36, effectively states that the State can restrict and limit the exercise of any fundamental human right (except for 3 out of the 31 specific rights under part two of the draft) as long as the State passes a law for such purposes. Without any doubt, such a broad-brush provision, or anything similar to or akin to it does not exists in either the abrogated 1970 Constitution or the c