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A Gambian Chieftaincy Election

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 November 2008

James Kingsland
Assistant Professor of Political Science, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park1


The Setting

The rumble of military jeeps throughout the continent has obscured the fact that there are still a few places where lively elections are held from time to time. Before the rash of coups, and even in several countries with a dominant party, there were local opportunities for intensive competition. Where electoral politics still exist today, groups which might not carry much national weight have the chance to win a slice of the political system at the local level. Such a case was the 1975 election of the chief or seyfo for the Lower Saloum District which is part of the McCarthy Island Division on the north bank of the Gambia River. The three largest ethnic groups here are the Olof, the Mandinka, and the Fula.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1977

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1 The author expresses his thanks to the Social Science Research Council for the grant which made this study possible.