Saturday, May 28, 2022

Supreme Court to Hear UDP Election Petition Case Tomorrow

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By Yankuba Jallow

The Gambia Supreme Court will on Friday, 17 December hear the election petition case brought by the United Democratic Party (UDP) against Adama Barrow, the President of the Republic of The Gambia.

The opposition party wants the highest court to declare the re-election of President Adama Barrow on the 4th December as invalid.

The party filed their petition on Tuesday. Foroyaa has seen media reports that UDP has amended their petition to add the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) as 2nd respondent to the case. However, we cannot independently verify this report as of now.

The UDP wants the Supreme Court to determine that the election of President Adama Barrow was invalid by reason of corrupt practices and hold that President Barrow was not duly elected and his election was otherwise invalid.

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UDP also wants the court to determine that the votes casted in favour of President Adama Barrow in all regions as void by reason of his corrupt and illegal practices. They also want the highest court to determine that the election was invalid by reason of non-compliance with the electoral laws, widespread irregularities and improprieties which affected the results in favour of President Adama Barrow.

Finally, the party wants the Supreme Court to determine that the election was invalid by non-compliance with the Constitution and all applicable election laws.

UDP’s Alagie S. Darboe, the Senior Administrative Secretary of the party, who signed the petition on behalf of the party, said IEC absorbed renowned NPP supporters to supervise the 2021 presidential elections.

He said the NPP supporters who were appointed as presiding officers included: Fabakary Ceesay of Jambur, Fansu Sambou of Brikama, Ousman Manneh of Kembujeh, Ramatoulie Bajinka of Brikama, Oumie Hydara of Brikama Wellingara, Ross Bass of Lamin Village, Nyarra Sowe of Sibanor, Lamin K. Jawara of Farato, Malick Jammeh of Kembujeh, L.S.A Jatta of Kembujeh, Lamin M. Manneh of Marakisa, Amadou Sanneh of Brikama, Alassan Bah of Basse, Alfusainey Jarju of Sohm, Alieu Jarjusy of Nyofelleh, Fatou Jammeh of Kuloro and Fabakary Gibba of Ndemban.

UDP said the election was invalid accusing officials of the IEC of malpractice. Darboe said the officials of the IEC did not permit their agents to be present at the time of sealing the ballot boxes in the morning before the commencement of the polls.

The party also said some voters were denied the opportunity to cast their votes for not wearing face masks. The party argued that there was no previous announcement to that effect that a face mask was a requirement. 

UDP said the presence of some Alkalolu at some polling stations was condoned by officials of the IEC even though it did not conform to the standards of ethics.

The opposition party said in Basse, Upper River Region, Police Commissioner Ensa Badjie came and ordered the IEC staff to re-open the polling station for those who came late.

The party said voting continued in Sukuta and Farato until 12 midnight side by side with the counting of the results contrary to the IEC announcement.

UDP said some voting stations were congested and the IEC did not provide enough voting booths in some stations, namely: Busumbala Mission School polling station, Old Yundum polling station and also in Sukuta; leading to some voters leaving without casting their votes.

Alagie S. Darboe, the Senior Administrative Secretary to the party, signed the petition on behalf of UDP.

Darboe said the election was invalid and void as he accused Adama Barrow and some of his NPP officials of financial inducements to the electorates countrywide during the campaign period contrary to section 116 of the Elections Act.

He said, in a bid to induce and influence the Alkalolu and residents of their villages, President Adama Barrow announced that Alkalolu would receive D3000 monthly salary, if he wins.

Also, the lawmaker pleaded that the Minister of Regional Government and Lands, Musa Drammeh, paid one million dalasis or thereabout to the Alkalolu and village development committees of some communities while the President was on campaign.

Darboe maintained that the election was invalid because of the involvement of public officers leading to the elections. In support of his argument, Darboe said chiefs and governors were involved in the campaign for the NPP, adding that chiefs were in campaign committees of NPP at each region across the country.

Darboe said the 2021 election was invalid by reason of hate against the Mandinka and in order to induce fear in the voters against UDP; when it became a campaign slogan of the NPP that if UDP wins, the Fulas, Wollofs, Serers and other ethnic minorities will be expelled from the country.

The party said the 2021 election results were invalid by reason of lack of transparency in the counting and transmission of the results to the IEC headquarters.

The party said their agents were given a fax copy of the results of the collation centre results without attaching thereto copies of the polling centre results.  The party added the IEC refused to supply them the information of polling station results at the time and maintained that the presiding officers failed to record the names and addresses of all polling agents on the polling station results form as required by section 71 subsection 2 of the Elections Act.

UDP said the polling station results forms were not kept in a secured manner such as sealing them in envelopes when they were being transported to the collation centres.

They further said their agent at the collation centre in Kerewan was denied access to the results of the North Bank Region that were presented there. Also, the party said their agent was not given the results after the collation exercise and the IEC officials began jubilation.

UDP also said the election was invalid by reason of fraudulent and wrongful insertion of non-Gambians (residents in the Gambia) in the voter list countrywide. The party said they were not aware of this until the appearance of non-Gambians was reported during and after the election. The party promised to present to the court the names of the non-Gambians.

UDP wants the Supreme Court to order IEC to produce their database and other relevant materials.

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