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GALGA Accuses President Barrow of Interference in 2023 Local Government Elections

The Gambia Association of Local Government Authorities (GALGA) was established in September 2002 with the goal “to ensure an enhance good governance, accountability and transparency in local administration in the Gambia”. The statement issued below is from GALGA on the Government’s announcement to constitute a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the loans incurred by Councils from 2018 to 2023.



It is with great disappointment and concern that we write to bring to your attention recent actions taken by the President of the Republic of The Gambia that violate the constitutional rights of the undersigned as well as over 100 Councilors in Local Government in The Gambia.

The said actions also violate ECOWAS Protocol A/SP1/12/01 on Democracy and Good Governance Supplementary to the Protocol relating to the Mechanism for Conflict Pre\mention, Management, Resolution, Peacekeeping and Security; and risk destabilizing the country as well as other international norms and obligations of the Government of The Gambia.

The Gambia is poised to enter the local government elections calendar from March 14th to 20th May 2023. This is one of the most pivotal elections in the country’s history. During this election, the incumbent party will contest in multiparty local elections for over one hundred seats. The Majority of seats are held by opposition parties which will make this process highly contentious and tense and very important for the future of democracy in this country.

It is therefore incumbent upon all parties and institutions to exercise restraint and put the interest of the nation first in order to maintain stability, and a level playing field and avoid any actions that would inflame people or undermine our democratic gains.

Unfortunately, the President, in purported exercise of his constitutional powers, established a Commission of Inquiry into the Conduct of All Local Government Councils and Connected Matters. Enclosed is a copy of the Commission Gazette which as you can see will span the three-month election window.

There is no stated reason why the Commission should be established and run during the election calendar of Local Governments. There is also no reason why it was not established for the past 5 years or cannot be established after elections.

As elected officials, we welcome public scrutiny and believe transparency and accountability are necessary, not only to allow the public to participate and be aware of local government administration but also to provide us with guidance and assistance to increase the efficiency of our various councils.

Local Governments are the most scrutinized public institutions in The Gambia. Currently, all Councils are subject to:

  • Annual audit by the National Audit Office
  • Annual report to the Finance and Public Accounts Committee
  • Quarterly inspection by the Ministry of Local & Regional Government
  • Annual audit by Gambia Public Procurement Authority (GPPA)
  • Periodic visit by the National Assembly Select committee on Local Government

In addition to the aforementioned, management essential staff of LGAs are hired directly by the Local Government Service Commission which is appointed by the Central Government.

As such, the administrative nature of local councils is such that the Government has the ability at any time to scrutinize, inspect and be aware of all activities at any time.

There is no Council in The Gambia that has not been subjected to or can avoid the above scrutiny. There is therefore no logical basis or reason for the President to establish a Commission of Inquiry to look into the conduct of Councils when all the information that could be required is available and already in the hands of the Government and the Public.

This is particularly worrisome when the Central Government is amok with corruption scandals and allegations which are clearly documented and publicized yet totally ignored.

Clearly, the establishment of the Commission to run concurrent to the local government election calendar is politically motivated and intended to:

  • Undermine the elections;
  • Restrain the free movement candidates during the campaign;
  • Provide a propaganda platform for the State;

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