By Yankuba Jallow
Lawyers for President Adama Barrow have filed a motion before the Supreme Court seeking dismissal of the United Democratic Party election petition against their client.
President Barrow’s lawyers were Lawyer Sherriff Marie Tambadou, Christopher E. Mene, I. Richards and Paulin Bakurim.
UDP sued President Adama Barrow before the Supreme Court. The party wants the court to determine that the election of Adama Barrow of the NPP as president was invalid.
The motion dated the 16th of December 2021 seeks dismissal or striking out of the UDP petition brought against Adama Barrow, contrary to the provisions of the Constitution on the ground that Adama Barrow as President has constitutional immunity from suit granted to him as President of the Republic by section 69 of the Constitution. According to the motion, section 69 provides that no civil and criminal proceedings shall be instituted or continued against the President while he holds or performs the function of the Office of the President in respect of anything done or omitted to be done by him or her whether in an official or private capacity.
Chief Justice Hassan B. Jallow set aside Tuesday, 21st December 2021 for the hearing of the motion. He gave IEC and UDP two clear days to respond to the motion.
The election petition case was brought by the United Democratic Party (UDP) against Adama Barrow and the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC). It was first mentioned on Friday, 17th December 2021 before the Supreme Court. The panelists of the court were Justices Hassan B. Jallow (Chief Justice), Cherno Sulayman Jallow, M.M. Sey, Awa Bah and Edrissa Fafa Mbye.
Lawyers Bory S. Touray, Abdul Aziz Bensouda and Lamin L. Darboe represented the UDP. UDP representatives were absent in the suit.
Lawyers Kebba Sanyang and Malick H.B. Jallow represented IEC. Sulayman Joof, the Director of Administration at the IEC represented the electoral body.
Lawyer Bory S. Touray informed the court that they have filed a motion ex-parte on Friday morning.
“It is not with us,” Chief Justice Jallow said.
Lawyer Touray acknowledged receipt of the motion by the lawyers for President Adama Barrow.
Lawyer K. Sanyang informed Tue court that he intends to raise preliminary objection as to why the name of IEC is added in the suit.
Lawyer Sheriff M. Tambadou informed the court that they were served with the amended petition by UDP together with the Court Order obtained ex-parte.
“We wish to advise ourselves on the ex-parte order,” Tambadou said.
Lawyer Tambadou pointed out that Rule 22 of the elections petition rules provides that all application in petition “must” be on notice, particularly on amendments.
“We need to take the necessary steps,” Tambadou said.
Chief Justice Jallow gave the lawyers for both IEC and President Barrow to file their responses to the petition on or before the 22nd of December 2021.
He said the motion will be first heard and determined since it is touching on the jurisdiction of the court to hear and try the case. He said Tuesday, 21st of December is set aside to hear the motion seeking to strike out the case.
Justice Jallow took time to urge the parties in the suit to work towards the expeditious hearing and determination of the suit. He added that the matter is of public interest.
Lawyer Tambadou suggested for the arguments for both the motion and petition to be taken together, but Chief Justice Jallow turned him down.
The Chief Justice invited all parties in the case to his chambers on Monday, 20th of December 2021 for “Status Conference” to set timeline for the expeditious hearing of the case.