The Alkalo is the traditional Gambian village Chief
of the founding family
however, today they are elected. When you visit a small
up-country community, it is considered polite to seek
out the Alikaalo in order to greet him. A bag of kola
nuts is regarded as the appropriate gift. He governs
along with a council composed of other village elders.
Historically in Gambia's Muslim villages, the religious
leader (Alimamo) shared some of the leadership responsibilities
with the Alkalo. The Alkalo governed along with a council
composed of other village elders from the freeborn caste.
The Alkalo and village council assigned land for families
to use, recruited age groups for work projects, and
Each village had a platform where public affairs were
debated and trials were held. During a trial, the he
acted as the judge. Both sides in a dispute presented
evidence, witnesses were cross-examined, and the Alkalo
made the decision, which almost always reflected the
consensus of the village.
Elections for an Alkalo:
(1) Where the office of Alkalo is to be filled by election,
the election shall be conducted by or under the supervision
of the Independent Electoral
Commission in accordance with this Constitution
and any Act of the National Assembly for the regulation
of such election.
(2) All persons who are ordinarily resident within the
village in which an election is to be held for the office
of Alkalo and who are registered as voters for National
Assembly elections within the constituency in which
such village or any part of it is situated shall be
entitled to vote in an election of an Alkalo.
(3) The election of an Alkalo shall be by secret ballot.
(4) A candidate for election as an Alkalo shall require
to be nominated in such manner as the Commission may