Posted by / Tuesday 22 May 2018 / No comments

The functions of the Governor-General under the independence constitution of The Gambia

Africa, Market Town, Serrakunda, Market
On the 18th of February, 1965, The Gambia became a politically independent country, having been granted independent status by the British colonial powers. A new constitution was introduced with the coming of independence. Though the Queen of England remained the Head of State, she was only a nominal head, represented by a Governor, a British national.

The constitution made provision for the position of a Governor-General. At independence, the Governor-General was John Warburton Paul until he left office on 9th February, 1966 to be replaced by Sir Farimang Mamadi Singatehthe on the same day.

Acted as the ceremonial head 
The Governor-General, acted as the ceremonial Head of State. He was responsible for ceremonial functions like, opening parliamentary sessions, inspecting guards of honour, receiving credentials from ambassadors and High commissioners. He represented the Queen of England who was resident in London.

Gave assent to bills 
Another function of the Governor-General was to give assent to bills that had been passed in the House of Representatives. Though the major duty of passing laws was that of the House of Representatives, after the bills are passed, it needs the signature of the Governor-General before it can become binding on the citizens.
Appointed the Prime Minister 
The independent constitution stipulated that the party which controls the majority seats in parliament gets its leader appointed as the Prime Minister. It was one of the functions of the Governor-General to appoint the Premier.
Power of prerogative 
The Governor-General could pardon prisoners under the power of prerogative of mercy. He could commit a death penalty to life imprisonment. He could pardon prisoners and get them freed on grounds of ill-health.

Gambia, Flag, National Flag, Nation 
Prorogued the National Assembly 
To prorogue is a language that is used to describe the coming to an end of a parliamentary session. This is usually associated with a ceremony in the House of Representatives. One of the functions of the Governor-General was to close a parliamentary session.
Power to remove Prime Minister 
The Governor-General had the power to remove the Prime Minister from office. This could however happen if the Prime Minister lost the confidence of the members of the House of Representatives.

Power to dismiss ministers 
The Governor-General also had the power to dismiss a minister of government when that minister misbehaves or goes contrary to the provisions of his position. However, this was done under the recommendation of the Prime Minister.

1. a. Describe the position of the Governor-General under the 1965 independent constitution of The Gambia. 
    b. Highlight five of the functions performed by the Governor-General under the constitution.


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