The Constitution did not provide for the office of Vie Chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission. What it says in Section 42 is as follows:
“(1) There shall be an Independent Electoral Commission for The Gambia which shall be part of the public service.”
It adds :
“(2) The members of the Commission shall be a Chairman and four other members.
(3) The members of the Commission shall be appointed by the President in consultation with the Judicial Service Commission and the Public Service Commission.”
How is a Vice Chairperson selected? A Vice Chairperson may be selected by the members from their ranks by relying on Subsection (8) which reads:
“The Commission may by regulation or otherwise regulate its own procedure.”
This power of the Commission to make regulations is further buttressed by Section 43 Subsection (3) which states:
“(3) In the exercise of its functions under this Constitution or any other law, the Commission shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority.”
The President should be guided by the Principle of promoting gender parity in the composition of institutions. If the Chair is a male and there is a long serving woman in the Commission who the commissioners could elevate to the position of Vice Chair would it not make sense to appoint a woman who could bring in experience and step in when the term of the other expires?
The future will tell.