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GAMBIA: Lack of Judges Stalls Jammeh’s Petition Hearing Against Barrow’s Election

BALTIMORE, MD (AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Embattled President Yahya Jammeh’s suit challenging the victory of his rival and winner of the last Presidential election, Adama Barrow has hit the brick wall, leaving little or no hope of hearing of his petition, ahead of the next week inauguration.

The Gambia’s Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that it could not rule for several months on Jammeh’s petition against his electoral defeat on 1 December owing to a lack of judges.

“We can only hear this matter when we have a full bench of the Supreme Court,” the court Chief Justice, Emmanuel Fagbenle ruled

The Nigerian judge said the extra judges needed to hear the case were not available.

The Gambia relies on foreign judges, notably from Nigeria, to staff its courts due to a lack of trained professionals in the tiny West African State.

Jammeh’s political party lodged a legal case on his behalf last month aimed at annulling the December 1 election result and calling for new elections.

Fagbenle added that he would prefer the country to resolve its political deadlock through the mediation underway by a group of West African leaders, who are still persuading Jammeh to respect the constitution and step aside.

“This is why alternative dispute resolution is important,” he said.

“We are now only left with the ECOWAS mediation initiative and the inter-party committee set up by government to resolve the dispute,” Justice Fagbenle restated..

The leaders from the ECOWAS regional grouping led by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari will return to Gambia for the second time since the election tomorrow to attempt a diplomatic solution, but Nigeria’s foreign minister has hinted that the use of force remains an option.

ECOWAS has given Jammeh up till 19 January to quit office so as to allow the swearing in of Barrow on January 20, as the new leader.



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