Gambia is a small west-African country that it is a presidential republic where the president of the country is the head of government as well as head of state. The country exercises democratic elections every five years. The executive wields both executive authority and legislative authority. The country has had several periods in its history where military coups imposed the dictatorial governments.
In Gambia, the Constitution is the supreme law, and other laws are subordinate to the constitution. The sovereignty of the country is enshrined in the Constitution of Gambia as well as the rights and freedoms of the citizens. The first Constitution of the Republic was promulgated after the country gained independence from Britain in 1965. However, a 1994-military coup led to the suspension of the Constitution. When the military regime ended in 1997, a revised Constitution was adopted. The ousting of former President Yahya Jammeh in 2016 who initially refused to vacate the office caused a tremendous constitutional crisis until he was forcefully ejected by ECOWAS-led forces. The Constitution indicates that the government is comprised of three branches the Executive, the Legislature, and the Judiciary.
The Executive is the arm of government empowered to look into government interests both locally and internationally. According to the Constitution of Gambia, the president is the head of the Executive and wields executive authority. The president is elected through democratic elections using a popular vote to serve a five-year term with no restriction on the number of terms he can serve. Other members of the Executive include the vice-president, the attorney general, and cabinet ministers. All cabinet ministers are appointed by the president and cannot be members of the Legislature. The role of the cabinet ministers is to advise the president as well as to supervise the activities of their respective ministries.
The Legislature of Gambia is the branch of government mandated to create new laws and amend existing laws. Also known as the National Assembly, the legislature is comprised of 53 elected members as well as five members who are appointed by the president. Gambia has a unicameral parliamentary system with only one chamber of parliament that is the National Assembly. The speaker is the leader of the National Assembly and is mandated to moderate the proceeding of parliament as well as presiding over voting by members of parliament during the passing of bills. The speaker and his deputy are selected from the appointed members of parliament and not the elected members. Elected members of Parliament are elected through democratic process to serve a five-year term.
The Judiciary is the arm of government whose mandate is the administration of justice where such administration is supposed to be impartial and fair. The chief justice is the head of the judiciary and is appointed by the president after consultations with the Judicial Service Commission. The highest office in the judiciary is the supreme court, and its judges (who include the chief justice) are all appointed by the president.
About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
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