Gambia’s Minister of Local Government and Lands has warned local government authorities not to fund political campaigns for any party ahead of Thursday’s polls.
Lamin Dibba, who is also a senior official of the United Democratic Party said taxes collected by the municipalities and area councils are meant for development projects and not to fund political parties.
“Area councils will not become political institutions anymore. If any political party cannot sponsor itself, then they can stop politicking,” Dibba said.
“Bear in mind you are accountable to the people and when things go wrong, there will be no excuse to say that it is because of political commitments or because of political pressure you have spent taxpayers money.”
President Adama Barrow has barred local chiefs and village heads from politicking. Former President Yahya Jammeh has used local authorities to fund his party and used local rulers to canvass support.
Barrow promised to give local authorities their independence back and Dibba has vowed to ensure that the accountability policy is enforced.
Tens of thousands are expected to head to the polls on Thursday to elect new councilors for the country’s seven administrative regions, including the capital, Banjul.
Turn out for the local government election is expected to be low across the country but slightly higher for the mayoral polls next month that could see independent candidates united against mainstream political parties.