By: BintaJaiteh & Musa O Bah
Landing B Sanneh, President of the Gambia Association of Local Government Authorities (GALGA) and chairman of Mansakonko Area Council has urged the Government to withdraw the commission of inquiry for stability and political freedom.
Speaking at a press conference held in Kanifing Municipal Council on Thursday, the GALGA chairman said “We bring this matter to the attention of all recipients and copied authorities for their urgent intervention and 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.”
According to Sanneh the action violates ECOWAS Protocol A/SP1112101 on Democracy and Good Governance Supplementary to the Protocol relating to the Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management, Resolution, Peacekeeping, and Security; and risk destabilizing the country as well as other international norms and obligations of the government of the Gambia.
He explained that 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.”
He stressed that 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.
Local Governments, he said are the most scrutinized public institutions in The Gambia and currently, all Councils are subject to annual audits by the National Audit Office, Annual reports to the Finance and Public Accounts Committee.
“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 because as elected officials we welcome public scrutiny and believe transparency and accountability are necessary,” he adde