Many Gambians do not know the pioneer of the struggle to give Gambians a voice. Edward Francis Small was born on 29 January 1891 and passed away in 1958. Every Gambian should know about his life and struggle during the colonial era. It should be part of the history syllabus.

He joined other patriots of other West African countries to struggle for the principle of elective representation to prevail in the early 1920s. This was based on the slogan ‘no taxation without representation’. This meant that power to tax must emanate from the government determined by the will of the people. This was during the colonial era when there were no elections.

The colonialists were opposed to the elective principle.

To give the people a voice E.F. Small established a newspaper, “The Gambia Outlook and Senegambia Reporter”, one of the earliest tabloids in the colony. E.F.Small did not simply rely on educating and informing the people. He was an organiser and this led him to establish a trade union which launched a successful strike in 1929. This gave impetus to further struggles to enable the people to take part in administering the life of their society. A Rate Payers’ Association was set up by E.F. Small in the urban area to exert pressure on the colonialists to create institutions of representation. This led to the creation of urban councils. Further struggle to extend the councils to the rural area was vehemently opposed by the Governor in 1934. But he succeeded in getting the colonialists to apply the elective principle to the Legislative Council which later transformed to the House of Representatives.


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