RULING PROTECTS COUNCILS FROM DISSOLUTION BY PRESIDENT

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By Omar Bah

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

In a landmark ruling yesterday, 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.

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“The president shall no longer appoint interim management to oversee councils 3 months before elections and councils shall continue to operate until the end of their mandate and just before elections,” the court declared.

Also, according to the ruling, councils and mayors “no longer need the permission of the Minister of Local Government in order to travel outside The Gambia”.

Reacting to the ruling, the Kanifing Municipality mayor, Talib Bensouda, said: “This is a small first step. I would like to thank my co-plaintiffs for believing in justice and devolution of powers and the Honourable Justices of the Supreme Court for this historic verdict.

“A special thank you to our Solicitors, Lawyer Yassin Senghore and Lawyer Abdoulie Fatty who are always at the fore-front fighting for justice. I shall continue my quest to transform the municipality and to seek reforms for the remainder of my term,” he added.