Gambia: No Law or Policy On Retirement Age of Chiefs

In a marathon question and answer session at the National Assembly it is now becoming apparently clear that there is no law or policy establishing a retirement age for Chiefs. The Minister for Regional Government and Lands decided to assure Deputies that he will go back and make detailed findings on why all the Chiefs removed during President Barrow's tenure received termination or retirement letters.

Foroyaa is of the opinion that the Barrow administration should show a bright example on how an accountable, transparent and law abiding government should behave. The position of a chief is not an ordinary one. Chiefs are the presidents of District Tribunals. No country would be seen as democratic if presidents have unquestionable authority to appoint and dismiss judges without any form of inquiry.

In the same vein, Presidents could be seen to be acting in gross violation of the principles of accountability and transparency if unilateral decisions are made to remove Chiefs who are Presidents of District Tribunals. The Constitution provides for the setting up of a commission of inquiry into the conduct of Chiefs and Alkalos. This is aimed at providing safeguards against arbitrary and unilateral decisions by the executive. The task now is to counsel the executive to conduct its action in a transparent and accountable manner so that it will not repeat the flaws of the past.

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