About The Gambia

State & Government

Name: The Gambia
Capital: Banjul
Type: Republic
Independence: 18 February 1965.
Constitution: 16 January 1997.
Head of State: H.E. Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr. Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh

The State

The Gambia, a former British colony for over 200 years, gained its independence on the 18th of February 1965. The country became a Republic in 1970 under the leadership of Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara who ruled until his succession by H.E Lt.Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh in 1994. Two years later, The Gambia was returned to a Democratic Government whereby the incumbent H.E. President Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh introduced a new Constitution. Under the current Constitution, general elections through secret ballots are held every five years to elect candidates who constitute the country’s National Assembly.

The Government

The Gambia is a multi-party democratic republic. The President of the Republic, who is directly elected by universal adult suffrage, is the Head of State and holds executive authority. Legislative authority is vested in a unicameral parliament called the National Assembly. The legal system is based on a composite of common law, Koranic law, and customary law. The judicial system is composed of lower courts such as the Magistrates Court, Khadis (Muslim) Courts, and District tribunals, and at the higher level, there is the Supreme Court and The Gambia Court of Appeal. Executive power is vested in the President who is also Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. The President appoints the Cabinet that include the vice-president, who is leader of government business in the House of Representatives. Legislative power is vested in the National Assembly, with 53 members: 48 elected and 5 nominated members. The speaker of the national assembly heads the parliament.

Administrative areas

For administrative purposes, the country is divided into a capital (Banjul) and Seat of Government together with the adjoining Kanifing muniscipality and the Regions. The Regions are each headed by a Governor who is the administrative head. These regions are further subdivided into 35 Districts locally administered by Seyfolu (Chiefs). Each district covers a number of villages and settlements with the Alkalo as the village head.

Capital and the five Regions

Banjul City Council (BCC), Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC), Western Region, Lower River Region, Upper River Region, Central River Region, North Bank Region. Over the years, Gambia has gained an international reputation as a land of peace and tranquillity.

Public holidays in The Gambia

Date English name
January 1 New Year's Day
February 18 Independence Day
March or April Good Friday
Easter Monday
May 1 Labour Day
May 25 Africa Day
July 22 Revolution Day
August 15 Assumption
December 25 Christmas Day
variable Islamic Ashura
Prophet's Birthday
Revelation of the Qur'an
End of Ramadan
Feast of the Sacrifice

Gambia Vaccinations - Required Immunisations

There are no requirements by the Gambia health or immigration authorities for any pre-departure vaccinations if you are coming to Gambia directly from the UK, EU or USA. Visitors from other countries should check with their local doctor. (Please remember that it is important to have adequate holiday protection before travelling).