By Bekai Njie
In line with ongoing constitutional reforms following Gambia’s two decades of authoritarian rule under former military ruler Yaya Jammeh, the country’s new government has disclosed plans to abolish the decades-long death penalty.
Government Spokesperson, Ebrima G. Sankareh announced the major constitutional reform on Saturday.
Quoting President Adama Barrow, Mr. Sankareh said the Barrow administration wanted to follow a universal trajectory where all civilized nations desire international best practices across the spectrum.
Contrary to a longstanding argument for the death penalty, the Government spokesperson said it was Mr. Barrow’s strong opinion that it is not a deterrent to crime, murder or manslaughter and he does not therefore subscribe to the death penalty as a choice of punishment.
Immediately after assuming office following historic elections in December 2016 that ended the 22-years of one-man authoritarian rule, President Barrow put a moratorium on the death penalty, abolished Gambia’s Islamic State status, reunited the country with the Commonwealth of nations and the International Criminal Court, both of which his predecessor rejected.
Mr. Barrow has constituted a Constitutional Review Commission that is currently touring the entire country to hear citizens’ opinion on major areas of reform like Presidential term limit, voting rights, citizenship and academic requirements for future presidential candidates.