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Alkalo (Alikaloo) - Village Chief

Village Structure
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 settled disputes.

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 prescribe.
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