(JollofNews) – The Supreme Court of the Gambia is Tuesday expected to commence hearing President Yahya Jammeh’s petition against last month’s presidential election results.
The election was called in favour of opposition candidate Adama Barrow who won more than 45% of the vote according to the country’s electoral commission.
But Mr Jammeh has filed a suit at the supreme court asking judges to determine that Adama Barrow was not duly elected or returned as president, and that the said election was void.
He has also asked the court to declare him ‘duly elected’ as president by virtue of the actual votes.
The Gambia’s supreme court was not properly constituted from May 2015 until a week after the election following the unexplained dismissal of two justices by Mr Jammeh. The court has not been able to hold any sitting since then due to the absence of a panel.
Mr Jammeh had initially conceded defeat and praised the country’s electoral system as rigged proof. He changed his mind a week later and declared the results null and void citing huge and unacceptable mistakes by the electoral commission.
He also ordered security forces to take over the headquarters of the electoral commission shortly afterwards.
According to the particulars of the case, which will be heard by a panel of non-Gambian judges appointed by Mr Jammeh (apart from the chief justice) after the election, Mr Jammeh is asking the justices to declare the election invalid because the IEC did not comply with the Elections Act, which seriously affected the credibility of the result.
He said the election was not conducted fairly or in good faith by the IEC, which is the statutory body responsible for the proper conduct of elections in the Gambia .
Mr Jammeh further argued that the IEC had failed to properly collate the election results.
He added: “After the closing of voting in the said election, the IEC issued different results for the election on the 2nd December and then on the 5th December 2016. The different results were duly certified by the IEC, which claimed to act under the Elections Act after admitting that there were irregularities in the counting process.”
Mr Jammeh said there was a difference in the two sets of results that were certified by the IEC and even after rectifying the mistake, the final results were not signed by his representative, Seedy S.K. Njie.
He also argued a significant number of his supporters in the Upper River Region were prevented from voting through the intimidation election officials who also turned them away and asked them to go home.
He added that some irregularities in the conduct of voting were also discovered in certain polling stations in Lower Fulladu West District-Central River Region.
Adama Barrow who is due to be sworn-in on January 19th has rejected Mr Jammeh’s calls for fresh elections to be held. He said while Mr Jammeh can seek redress at the courts, he does not have any power under the constitution to nullify the results or stop his swearing-in ceremony.
The Gambia Bar Association has also dismissed Mr Jammeh’s petition arguing that it will be against the principles of natural justice for him to appoint supreme court judges to hear a petition file by him or on his behalf.
The body which represents lawyers in the country said: “That would be tantamount to one being a judge in ones own course considering that the outgoing president has already preempted the outcome of the court process by declaring the outcome of election results as a nullity.”