The government needs to acknowledge that the change of 2016 was brought about because of dissatisfaction and disagreement with the way things were done. The transition should have taken place during President Barrow’s first term. Local government reform did not take place. One would have thought that the government will now set up a body to begin consultation on local government and traditional rulers with a view to making the necessary recommendations for reform.

One would recall that the Chief of Sabach Sanjal was removed on the pretext of age when no provision exists in the Local Government Act establishing an age limit for the office of chief. Now that person has not been given any form of compensation after forceful removal from office, again under the pretext of age.

Such behaviour of government is contrary to the dictates of good governance and the rule of law. It would have been prudent to conduct a review exercise of the law after taking such missteps. There are many draconian provisions in the Local Government Act such as removal of councillors from office and their replacement by an administrator before local government elections. Will the Barrow administration retain such a law and implement it? The future will tell.

The present however demands dialogue and consultation to effect the necessary reform that is in line with democratic practices.