Minister reacts to Supreme Court ruling protecting councils from dissolution

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By Omar Bah

The Minister of Local Governments, Sheriff Abba Sanyang, has said his ministry is waiting for the Supreme Court to explain how they came to a decision of ruling in favour of the KM Mayor and 55 chairmen and councilors against the government.

Last week, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of KM mayor Talib Ahmed Bensouda and 55 chairmen and councilors who filed a case against the state challenging the president’s powers under the Local Government Act to dissolve councils three months before elections.

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In a landmark ruling, a Supreme Court panel of judges ruled that local governments and municipal councils will no longer be dissolved three months before elections and that local government elections will be held every 4 years and not every five years from April 2023.

But reacting to the ruling in a Star FM exclusive to be aired today, Minister Sanyang said: “It is a ruling by the Supreme Court but in what component or respect, integrity, clause or opinion they relied on to make the judgement? We are waiting for that, if we know, then we will be able to know how to respond. But what people should understand is that the Supreme Court is part of the Judiciary which alongside the Executive and the Legislature are part of the governance system. The legislature prepares laws that the public should utilise while the Judiciary interprets those laws in simple terms for people to understand how they can use them and the executive ensures that those laws are implemented. So, if these three arms don’t work with the same direction that will drive the country into chaos because those who interpret the law should do it properly so that people understand it to be discipline.”

Minister Sanyang said if the National Assembly prepares laws to settle certain issues in the public domain and the judiciary is saying that law should not be there “that is not against any individual but the state and the state is a collective responsibility of all of us, the judiciary included. Those who put the law in the law books have their own purpose and the executive also have their own purpose of implementing it and this law has been here since President Jawara’s time so if they remove it, there has to be a justifiable reason for it.  We should not work based on personal ego or sentiment,” he said.

He said the removal of the law is affecting the whole of society.