By Bruce Asemota
Lawyers representing the mayor of Banjul, the Independent Electoral Commission and the Minister of Justice have asked the Banjul high court presided over by Basirou Mahoney to order Gambia Participates and others pay D1 million as cost to their clients and dismiss the case.
Lawyer Sassum Sillah representing the mayor of Banjul, Kebba Sanyang representing the IEC and Binga D representing the minister of justice jointly submitted that they are opposed to the application filed by the applicants and that the court should impose a cost of D1 million to set an example for others not to abuse the court processes.
Lawyer Kebba Sanyang submitted that the applicants have no jurisdiction to file the suit against the mayor of Banjul, IEC and the attorney general.
He further submitted that Abdul Aziz Gaye, one of the applicants, is a councillor in Banjul and has not shown any authority from his people that gives him powers to bring the suit.
He said Gambia Participates has also not shown any legal authority that it has authority to institute the suit against the respondents.
He submitted that the provision of Section 12 (2) of the Constitution dealing with attestations is silent as far as the city of Banjul is concerned.
He further submitted that Banjul does not have an alkalol or seyfo and that the IEC has always used the services of the mayor to provide attestations for the citizens of Banjul and that this practice has been going on for many years.
He argued that the position taken by the applicants stands to discriminate against over 40 percent of the citizens of Banjul and to disenfranchise the citizens from taking part in the electoral process.
He submitted that any attempt to restrain the mayor from exercising her function to provide attestations would be discriminatory.
Sanyang argued that the powers vested in the IEC pursuant to Section 127 of the Constitution means the IEC cannot be questioned by any court of law in exercising its electoral functions.
Lawyer Binga D stated that due to the unique nature of Banjul where there is neither an alkalo or seyfo to give attestation to residents, the IEC approved the mayor to provide attestations to enable the residents acquire voter’s cards.
He pointed out that the actions of the IEC and the mayor of Banjul were done in good faith and in the interest of justice.
The lawyers urged the court to dismiss the suit and award heavy cost to set an example to others who would like to file suits of similar nature in the court.
The case has been adjourned to 13 July 2021 for judgment.