In response to a declaration by Lawyer Lamin J Darbo arguing that the appointment by the president of executive coordinators for Banjul and KM is unconstitutional, published in The Standard on Monday, the Office of the President yesterday countered, arguing that as much as it appreciates concerns raised by Counsel Darbo, his article overlooked crucial aspects of the Constitution in the governance setup.

The statement from State House went further: “The president, by the powers granted by Section 80 of the Constitution, acted well within the legal framework in the introduction of the offices of the Area Coordinators in Banjul and KMC. This section empowers the president to establish public offices for The Gambia, make appointments, and terminate them, subject to Constitutional provisions and Acts of the National Assembly. The president exercised this authority by signing an Order, duly gazetted”.

On the lawyer’s second point claiming that the appointments interfered with Local Government administration, State House said this is not accurate. “The roles of the Executive Coordinators are outlined, including representing the president and the Central Government, monitoring service provision coordination, and collaborating with local authorities and traditional rulers on matters of public interest aligned with central government policies. Furthermore, the Local Government Act itself, specifically in Section 49(3), specifies certain functions exclusive to the Central Government under Part I of Schedule II. This underscores that central government officials continue to have national functions in Local Government Administrative Areas,” the statement said.

State House further argued that it is essential to understand that The Gambia remains a unitary State, not a federation and therefore, the country operates under one government, with overarching authority throughout and that Local Councils are not separate government entities.

“Mr Darbo’s article, unfortunately, misinterprets the rationale behind the creation and subsequent appointment of Executive Coordinators by His Excellency the President. The offices of the Executive Coordinators support the implementation of government policies in the regions.

The reintroduction of these offices directly responds to the concerns highlighted in the article, specifically emphasizing the enhanced decentralisation of public services to bring them closer to the people. Historically, the Governors’ Offices were situated in Banjul and Bakau,” the statement concluded.

Source: Standard

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