Disputes and dispute settlement in the Gambia
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This section identifies institutions and individuals involved in dispute settlement. Within the village setting and nationwide, individual Gambians have become particularly well-known as skillful mediators and peace-keepers. The skills, characteristics and motivations of individuals shape settlement processes and outcomes. These skillful mediators can determine how laws become adapted to, or do not adapt to, new situations. Whether a conflict is resolved or left to fester is often contingent upon the presence (or absence) of a strong leader. Across all interviews conducted for this study, there seems to be a consensus on the skills of a strong leader. A strong leader must possess: knowledge of tradition, knowledge of traditional ways of solving disputes, knowledge of the laws of the new military government and the former government, reasonableness, recognition of people's position in society, knowledge of Islamic jurisprudence and knowledge of local languages.