Following the dismissal of the APRC appeal by the IEC on Pa Amadou Suso’s candidacy, the party’s spokesman Seedy Njie yesterday walked into the offices of The Standard armed with both the local government and election Acts that covered the eligibility criteria of a candidate for chairmanship, mayor or council elections.
According to Mr Njie, the IEC’s assertion that a person who is sentenced to a fine or imprisonment is not eligible is false.
Njie went on to quote Section 17 (3)a of the Local Government Act which states in Section 17 (3)b) that ‘A person is not qualified to be elected or nominated as a member of a council if he or she-17 (3)b: ‘has been sentenced to death or imprisonment for an offence involving fraud, dishonesty or violence or has been convicted of an offence relating to or connected with elections under any enactment in force in The Gambia’.
“Going by this, one can see clearly it is only when one is sentenced to death or an imprisonment or for election fraud that one can be disqualified. It did not include the one who was merely fined. Therefore Mr Suso who did not serve an imprisonment but only paid a fine of D3000 and D2000 on counts one and two, is not affected by the law,” Seedy Njie said.
Secondly, according to Mr Seedy Njie, reading from a photo copy of Boido Baldeh, petitioner’s letter against Suso, the letter was not addressed to the returning officer of Basse as required by law but instead it was addressed to the IEC which makes it null and void.
But perhaps more importantly according to Mr Njie, the petition of Boido Baldeh which the IEC said is what they relied on was filed and dated 25 April 2018 when Mr Suso was nominated on 23 April 2018. Mr Njie said the late submission of the petition is in breach of Section 49 (2) of the Election Act which states that ‘An objection to a nomination paper shall not be allowed unless it is made to the Returning Officer between the hours of eleven o’clock forenoon and four ‘o clock in the afternoon on the day of nomination provided that, if an objection is filed, a nomination paper maybe corrected until five ‘o clock in the afternoon of the day of the nomination’. According to Mr Njie, all the above showed clearly that IEC made a mistake in disqualifying Suso and the Election House must do everything possible to correct this in the interest of fair play and justice.
Mr Njie said everyone who cares for the truth and has read the local government and election acts will discover that these facts are not contestable and the IEC must take the right course of action by restoring Suso’s candidacy.
IEC maintains stance on Suso
The director of communications at the Independent Electoral Commission, Joseph Colley has stressed that IEC stands by its decision on the disqualification of Pa Amadou Suso.
Mr Colley also clarified that the decision on an appeal on the objection of a candidate shall be final and shall not be called in to question by any court of law in accordance with Section 49 subsection sub-section 5 of the Election Act.