By D. A. Jawo
Everyone is wondering how the coalition government got it wrong (if indeed they got it wrong) by appointing a Vice President against both the letter and spirit of the 1997 Constitution, especially considering the fact that the spokesperson of the coalition, Halifa Sallah had not only been quite knowledgeable of the provisions of the constitution, but he had also been quite meticulous in his defense of it at almost every occasion.
Therefore, everyone is quite eager to know why Fatoumatta Jallow Tambajang was appointed when the Constitution is quite specific in Section 70 (2) “A person shall be qualified to be appointed as Vice- President if he or she has the qualifications required for the election of the President under section 62.
“Provided that the Vice-President shall not be a member of the National Assembly.”
It went on to state in Section 62 (1) “A person shall be qualified for election as president if:
(a) he or she is a citizen of the Gambia by birth or descent,
(b) he or she attained the minimum age of thirty years but not more than sixty-five years”
Of course, there is unanimity that there is no better choice than Mrs. Tambajang as vice president of the interim-government, considering not only the great role she had played in the mobilization for an opposition coalition that eventually led to the victory, but she also possesses all the qualities of an effective vice president.
However, regardless of the obvious fact that the 1997 Constitution had been quite defective as it was tailor-made to serve ex-President Jammeh’s own agenda, but it is the only constitution we have and therefore, the government cannot afford not to respect it, lest they are accused of following on the footsteps of the Jammeh regime.
In view of such controversy surrounding the appointment, it is extremely necessary that the government should come out clean on the matter as soon as possible before it causes more consternation.