As the momentum for the local government elections builds up many readers have been calling to find out from Foroyaa what the qualifications of a candidate contesting for the position of Mayor, Mayoress or Chairperson of a Council are?
First of all it should be made clear that even though a Mayor or Mayoress is elected directly by the electorate while a Chairperson is elected by Councillors, the qualifications of a Candidate contesting for these positions are the same.
Section 17 of the Local Government Act spells out the qualifications for membership of a Council as follows:
(a) is a citizen of The Gambia and is not less than 21 years of age;
(b) Is a registered voter;
(c) is ordinarily resident in the Local Government (Area or Region) in which he or she seeks election; a person is deemed to be ordinarily resident in a Local Government Area if, within the four years prior to the holding of the elections or his or her nomination to the Council, he or she has lived in the area for an aggregate period of not less than twelve months;
(d) is able to speak the English language with a degree of proficiency sufficient to enable him or her to take part in the proceedings of the Council;
(e) has made a declaration of his or her assets
(f) has paid all his or her taxes and rates or made arrangements satisfactory to the appropriate authority for the payment of his or her taxes and rates and has been issued with a certificate to that effect by the Gambia Revenue Authority.
A person qualifies to be elected Mayor, Mayoress or Chairperson if he or she holds the qualifications prescribed for Council members above and in addition -
(a) Is at least a secondary school graduate; and
(b) Is not less than thirty years old.
When a candidate is filing his or her nomination papers for election of mayor or mayoress he or she shall deposit the sum of D2500.