Gambia’s government’s attempt to decrease nomination fees for those seeking public office suffered a setback after the country’s Attorney General said proper constitutional procedures were not followed.
The impediment may cause many who had already announced their bid to run for parliamentary office suspend their campaign.
Barrow was seeking to reverse a decision by former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh to increase nomination fees for legislative office from D5,000 to D50,000 and for the presidency from D10,000 to D1 million.
The National Assembly voted to amend the bill last week and reverted the fees to their initial amount, a move that was largely welcomed by pro-democracy activists, who also said it, however, violated section 226 of the constitution.
Attorney General Aboubcarr Baa Tambadou advised President Barrow not to sign the amendment because “the procedure adopted at the National Assembly to amend these constitutional provisions was misconceived.”
Gambians criticized the increment in the fees as discriminatory towards the poor, who cannot afford the exorbitant fee in a nation where a tw-third earn less than D40,000 a year; but Barrow’s administration said the rule of law has to be upheld.