Monday, March 1, 2021

Supreme Court Declares Gambians Living in Diaspora Can Vote in Elections, Referendum

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By Yankuba Jallow

The Supreme Court of The Gambia has on Wednesday, 27th January 2021 ruled that Gambians living in Diaspora can register and vote in national elections.

The apex court declared that section 17 (1) (e) of the Elections (Amendment) Act 2015 requiring all members of the executive of a political party to be resident in The Gambia is in contravention of section 41 and 60 of the 1997 Constitution.

“It is therefore invalid, null and void,” Chief Justice Hassan B. Jallow said.

The Supreme Court declared that pursuant to section 39 of the Constitution every Gambian, including those residing outside the jurisdiction, are entitled to register for and vote in elections to the offices of President, members of the National Assembly, for local government offices and traditional rulers as well as in referenda.

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These declarations were made in the case of Bakary Bunja Dabo, Cherno M. Njie, Pa Samba Sadaga Jow, Jeggan Gerald Grey-Johnson and Sidi Muhammed Sanneh against the Attorney General and the Indepedent Electoral Commission (IEC).

Regarding the declarations sought by the plaintiffs, the Supreme Court held that it lacks the jurisdiction to make such decisions on matters relating to fundamental human rights found in the Constitution from section 17 to 38. The case was filed by the Plaintiffs on the 11th September 2020.

The Justices of the court were Justices Hassan B. Jallow, Raymond C. Sock, Maimuna M. Sey, Awa Bah and Edriss F. M’bai.

Lawyer Hawa Sisay-Sabally represented the plaintiffs whereas Binga D, K. Tah, Aji A. Ceesay and B. Jeng appeared for the Attorney General and Lawyer Kebba Sanyang appeared for the IEC.

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