The hearing of the election petition of Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction party led by President Yahya Jammeh could not go today because of the absence of the Nigerian and Serra Leonean judges who were to sit over the case.
The election petition was supposed to be heard by five judges including the Chief Justice Emmanuel Fagbele who is currently the only one in the country today.
Chief Justice Fagbele, who presided over the country’s Supreme Court told Jammeh’s lawyer Edu Gomez, that he needed a full panel to hear the petition, and announced the ‘hired’ judges would not travel to Gambia until either May or November.
The case was adjourned to Monday and Fagbele warned the petitioners that they shouldn’t expect any changes in the fact that he cannot hear the case without a full panel of judges.
The Independent Electoral Commission and the President elect Adama Barrow are to be served the petition before the next hearing.
He also advised that parties to the standoff consider alternative resolution of the political conflict through Ecowas or the committee of political parties
Gambia’s Supreme Court outsources judges from the two West African countries both of which could not send any personnel this time.
Fagbele is a Nigerian national and weeks ago, the Gambia Bar Association has accused him of gross “incompetence” and “professional misconduct” and demanded his resignation.
Gambia was plunged into a crisis on Dec. 9 after President Jammeh rejected the election results, a week after conceding defeat to a little known property developer, Adama Barrow.
Jammeh said the electoral process was tainted with “unacceptable irregularities” and ordered for fresh votes before filing a petition at country’s apex court seeking to annul the results.
Since the crisis erupted, the regional bloc, ECOWAS, and major international institutions including the United Nations and African Union has asked Jammeh to step down.
Several high profile Gambians have also joined the call and couple of weeks ago, 11 ambassadors have written to the President Jammeh asking him to quit.
On Monday, Sheriff Bojang, the communication minister under President Yahya Jammeh has also resigned and called on him to hand over power when his term expires on January 19.
Nigeria’s President Muhammed Buhari and Ghana’s former president John Dramani Mahama are expected in Gambia on Wednesday to hold talks with Jammeh as part of efforts by the regional economic bloc aim at peacefully solving the impasse.
Halifa Sallah, the spokesperson of President elect Adama Barrow, said weeks ago that they will continue with their inauguration on January 19.