The Gambia has a unicameral legislature composed of 53 elected members from single member constituency and five (5) nominated by the President making it 58 members.
The National Assembly of the Gambia is the highest lawmaking, oversight and representation body in the Gambia.
Since the coming into force of the 1997 constitution, there have been six Assemblies in the Gambia. The Sixth Legislature of the National Assembly was sworn on 14 April 2022 following the conduct of parliamentary election in April 2022.
1.Assemblies of The Second Republic
|1||First Assembly||1997 – 2002|
|2||Second Assembly||2002 – 2007|
|3||Third Assembly||2007 – 2012|
|4||Fourth Assembly||2012 – 2017|
|5||Sixth Assembly||2022 –|
2. Sittings of the National Assembly
The National Assembly sits quarterly every year. There are four Ordinary Sessions as shown below. However, in addition to the ordinary sessions the National Assembly do sit on extra-ordinary session upon request by the president or by one-quarter of all members of the National Assembly.
Ordinarily, the sittings of the National Assembly are open to the public unless otherwise directed by the Assembly.
March- First Ordinary Session
June- Second Ordinary Session
September– Third Ordinary Session
December– Fourth Ordinary Session
3. Procedure in the National Assembly
According to Section 103 of the 1997 Constitution, the speaker shall preside at any sitting of the National Assembly and in the absence of the speaker the deputy speaker. Whereas both the speaker and deputy speaker are absent any member of the Assembly elected for that purpose shoulld preside
Language in the National Assembly
The business of the National Assembly shall be conducted in the English language or any other language prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly.
Section 104(2) states that “The Quorum of the National Assembly at the commencement of any sitting is one half of all the members.”
Voting in the National Assembly
- Voting in the National Assembly except otherwise provided in the 1997 constitution is by a majority of votes of the members present.
- The person presiding in the Assembly do not have an original or a casting vote.
- When the votes are divided equally, the motion is deemed to be rejected.
- A member with commercial interest in any matter proposed for discussion MUST declare such to the Speaker. The vote of such a member on such matter is disallowed and he or she shall be deemed not to have voted.
Term of the National Assembly
The term of members of the National Assembly is for five (5) years. According to Section 99 (1) “the National Assembly shall stand dissolved on the day immediately preceding the day appointed in accordance with section 97 for the first session of the next sitting following National Assembly”
In the event that the Gambia is at War or a state of emergency is declared, the National Assembly can extend the life of the National Assembly for not more than three months at a time, provided that is supported by votes not less than two-thirds of the members. However, under this provision the “life of the Assembly for more than a total period of one year.”(Subsection 2)
4. Party Representation in The Sixth Legislation
Out of the 19 registered political parties, only 6 is represented in the Sixth Legislature the same number as the fifth legislature. However, PPP and GDC lost all their seats to NRP and Independents respectively.
* Nominated: There are members 5 of the national assembly nominated by the Sitting president of the Gambia
Representation in the fifth and sixth legislature
- APRC Lost 3 Seats
- GDC lost all their 5 Seats (Two former members were re-elected under NPP ticket)
- NRP lost 1 seat
- PPP lost all 2 seats (1 member re-elected as Independent)
- PDOIS lost 2 seats
- UDP lost 8 seats
- Independents gain 12 seats
For the constituencies with * , members were expelled from their parties between 2019 and 2020 and with the amendment of section 91(D), they automatically become independent instead of losing their seats. The parties mostly affected were UDP and GDC. UDP expelled 8 members while GDC expelled two and lost one to NPP during by-election in 2020. Though UDP was able to regain some of their seats back they lost some to NPP and Independent.
5. Women Representation in the Sixth Legislature
There are only 5 women in the Sixth Legislature out of which three were elected and 2 nominated. In terms of percentage women only represent 9% below the global indicator of 30%.
UDP is the only political party with an elected female NAM (Hon. Fatou Cham). The two others elected NAMs are Independents Hon. Fatoumata Njie of Banjul South (Former PPP NAM Fifth Legislature) and Hon. Amie Colley of Foni Brefet. The president nominated two female candidates in the name of Hon. Maimuna Ceesay and Hon. Fatoumata Jawara. Jawara lost her re-election bid under the NPP ticket.
6. Age Distribution of National Assembly Members
The Youngest elected NAM is Hon. Abdoulaye
Njie (26) of Banjul South. He is also the youngest elected parliamentarian in the West African sub-region. The oldest is the Speaker (Hon. Fabakary Tombong Jatta). For the Women NAMs, the youngest is Hon. Amie Colley.
Generally, Gambia has a very youthful parliament. 43% of NAMs are between the ages of 36-45. 21% of NAMs fall under the National youth bracket (15-35).