Gambia: Political Parties and Trades Unions Material

Scope and Content

Periodicals, constitutions, manifestos, platforms, communiqués, speeches, codes of conduct, letters and other miscellaneous election materials from 1954, issued by the Alliance for Patriotic Re-orientation and Construction (Gambia), the Gambia Muslim Congress, the Gambia Peoples Party, the Gambia Workers' Union, independent candidates, the National Convention Party (Gambia), the People's Democratic Organization for Independence and Socialism (Gambia), the Peoples' Progressive Party (Gambia) and the United Party (Gambia).

Administrative / Biographical History

Although trades unions had functioned in The Gambia from the 1920s, it was not until the 1950s that the first political parties emerged. Disputes between these parties, which included the Gambia Muslim Congress, the United Party and the Protectorate People's Party (later to become the Peoples' Progressive Party), delayed agreement on the transition to independence until 1965, when Dawda Kairaba Jawara of the PPP became the country's first Prime Minister. Though Gambia had a multi-party electoral system Jawara and the PPP remained in power until the 1994 coup, during which time the country became a republic (1970), experienced its first coup (1981) and formed a confederation with Senegal (Senegambia, 1982-1989). The leader of the second coup, Yahya Jammeh, has since won two presidential elections under a new constitution with his Alliance for Patriotic Re-orientation and Construction (Gambia), although several opposition parties were either banned from or boycotted the polls. The materials here cover the entire period from the end of colonial rule to the Jammeh era.


Alphabetically by organisation, and then in rough chronological order.

Access Information

Open to all for research purposes; access is free for anyone in higher education.

Acquisition Information

Institute of Commonwealth Studies

Other Finding Aids

Records at item level on library catalogue (SASCAT)

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Daniel Millum, Political Archives Project Officer at the Institutes of Commonwealth and Latin American Studies.

Conditions Governing Use

Copies can usually be obtained - apply to library staff.

Custodial History

The Commonwealth Political Parties Materials collection was begun in 1960-61, with special emphasis being placed then, as now, on "primary material such as party constitutions, policy statements, convention reports and election manifestos." (ICS, Twelfth Annual Report 1960-1961). Since then, the main method of gathering material has been to appeal directly to political parties throughout the Commonwealth, though contributions from Institute members and staff following visits to relevant countries have been significant. More recently material has been collected by means of downloading documents from the websites of the major parties.


Further accruals are expected, some in electronic form.

Related Material

See also Political Party, Trades Unions and Pressure Group Materials for other Commonwealth countries and related material in the library's main classified sequence, all held at the ICS.