By Yankuba Jallow
Gambia Participates and Centre for Research and Policy Development (both civil society organizations) and the Councillor for Box Bar Ward in Banjul North (Councilor Abdou Aziz Gaye) on 23rd June 2021 filed a summons before the High Court against the Mayor of Banjul (Rohey Malick Low), the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and the Attorney General challenging the legality and validity of the mandate accorded to the Mayor to issue attestations to Banjul constituents in the ongoing general voter registration.
It is the position of the three plaintiffs that there is no legislation (law) that mandates a “Mayor” to issue attestation to constituents in order to apply for a voter’s card as this power and authority is only vested to Village Alkalo or District Chief (Seyfo) as per section 12(2)(e) of the Elections Act. Therefore, they are arguing that the actions of the IEC and the Mayor are in conflict with the laws governing voter registration and are therefore, ultra vires and a grave violation of the Elections Act and other relevant laws.
The three plaintiffs are contending that the issuance of attestation to constituents of Banjul is unlawful and is not in conformity with the relevant laws governing elections in the country.
The Plaintiffs are arguing that the mayor lacks such powers and her action is a serious contravention of the Elections Act.
The Plaintiffs want the high court to make a declaration that the actions of the Mayor of Banjul in issuing attestations to constituents of the City of Banjul in the ongoing Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) general registration of the voters contravenes section 12 (2) (e) of the Elections Act.
Also, they want the court to make a declaration that the actions of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) in conferring the power to the Office of the Mayor of Banjul to administer attestation forms generated by the IEC for the purpose of claiming voter cards in the City of Banjul contravenes section 12 (2) (e) of the Elections Act;
They want the high court to make an order quashing the decision of the of the IEC to bestow upon the Mayor of Banjul the power and authority to issue attestations to the Constituents of the City of Banjul.
Also, they want the court to make an order setting aside all attestation forms endorsed and or issued by the Mayor of Banjul for which voter cards were issued by the IEC. Consequently, an order striking-out and / or cancelling all voter cards issued by the IEC that were supported by attestation forms issued and or endorsed by the Mayor of Banjul.
Readers would recall these two civil society organisations instituted a suit against the Gambia Government and succeeded in the matter of the 54.3 million dalasis loan scheme the lawmakers allocated to themselves. The action of the lawmakers was declared unlawful.