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On Appointment of Alkalolu!

Dec 4, 2019, 1:28 PM

A famous Brazilian lyricist and novelist, Paulo Coelho de Souza has once said that ‘culture makes people understand each other better. And if they understand each other better in their soul, it is easier to overcome the economic and political barriers. But first they have to understand that their neighbour is, in the end, just like them, with the same problems, the same questions.’

Alkalolu play an integral role in the development of any village. Apart from settling disputes, they also serve as caretaker and first port of call when it comes to any development initiatives in any village.

Since the first republic, issue relating to appointment of alkalolu is treated with due care. So in short it is a sensitive issue when it comes to appointment of alkalolu. 

However, any village in this country has a history to narrate ie about the formation of that particular community. In a simple context, these stories are narrated by founders of that particular community or village.

And so when it comes to the issue of alkaloship, it is those people (founders) that are normally considered for that post and it is the practice since the first republic.

And that is how the appointment of alkalo is supposed to be. In short, in The Gambia the appointment of alkalolu is a process that involves inheritance- meaning one succeeding another according to age. So is safe to say that it a process that is pass down to generations within the same family structure.

Meanwhile, the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) is drafting the new constitution, which is yet to be finialised. However, one important aspect many spotted in the draft constitution is the issue of a minister appointing village alkalolu. The Gambia is a country of culture and tradition. Therefore, our traditional and cultural way of doing or administering our own affairs should be left as it is.

As rightly stated by the Ousainou Darboe, the secretary general and leader of the United Democratic Party (UDP) ‘our culture, tradition and values should be left in the hands of the people and they should be strengthened.’

We all have witnessed in the past, how the past regime cemented hatred among people of the same family by interfering in the appointment of village heads (alkalolu). The issue of alkaloship should be entirely left in the hands of the villagers.

“My concern was whether I could do the job of a justice well enough to convince the nation that my appointment was the right move.“

Sandra Day O’Connor