WHAT WOULD THE FUTURE COUNCILS LOOK LIKE?

The Independent Electoral Commission did announce that it will conduct by elections for six vacant council seats on 24 May 2017. At the moment campaign is going on unnoticed without coverage by the media.

The councils play an important role in our lives and we need to start discussion on the reform of our councils before the council elections 11 months away. The former executive promised to devolve power but instead it carried out extensive amendments of the Local Government Act and transformed the councils into an arm of the central government. Section 193(1) of the constitution was set aside. It reads:

“Local government administration in The Gambia shall be based on a system of democratically elected councils with a high degree of local autonomy.”

Subsection (3) of the same section outlines the functions of a council as follows:

“An Act of the National Assembly shall make provision for the functions, powers and duties of local government authorities, including provision for-

(a)      the infrastructure  and development of the area within the authority’s jurisdiction;

(b)     the encouragement  of commercial  enterprises;

(c)      the participation  of the inhabitants  in the development  and administration of the area;

(d)     the essential and other services to be provided by the authority;

(e)     the raising of local revenue;

(f)      the  management, control  and  oversight  of  the authority ‘s  finances and the audit of its     accounts by the Auditor-General;

(g)     the making of by-laws;

(h)     the preservation of the environment;

(i)      the promotion of Gambian traditions and culture; and

(j)      the control of financial and other resources allocated  by the Central Government.”