By Binta A Bah
Momodou Sabally, the UDP aspirant for the Busumbala constituency in the 9th April National Assembly election whose nomination was rejected by the Independent Electoral Commission last Thursday, has filed an appeal at the Banjul High Court.
Abdoulie Fatty, the lawyer acting for Mr Sabally, yesterday lodged an appeal asking the court to quash the “wrongful” decision of the electoral commission of rejecting his client’s nomination. He also prayed to the court to make an order directing the IEC to accept Sabally’s nomination papers.
The IEC which presided over the nomination of candidates across the country for the April National Assembly elections, rejected Sabally’s nomination papers on the grounds that a commission of inquiry made adverse findings against him and asked for him to be banned from holding public office, which recommendation the government accept in the subsequent white paper. The electoral commission said Section 90 (1) (e) of the Constitution disqualifies individuals like Sabally from contesting National Assembly elections.
In his affidavit, Sabally said the decision of the IEC in rejecting his nomination paper is wrong both in law and in facts stating that the electoral body did not state that the Commission of Inquiry has recommended that he be banned from holding public office by reason of having acquired assets unlawfully or defrauded the state. It therefore called on the court to quash the IEC rejection of his nomination.
In the certificate of urgency that accompanied Mr Sabally’s appeal, he argued that “time is of the profound essence and unless this matter is thus dealt with urgently, [he] will be prevented from exercising a fundamental constitutional right in the public life of this country”.
“The applicant will be prejudiced if this matter is not heard urgently because there is limited period before the National Assembly election in April 2022 which is less than a month from today. Thus, this application must be treated with extreme urgency. This application raises important issues that go to the heart of The Gambia’s democracy. Therefore, it is in the interest of justice and constitutionality that this application is heard expeditiously,” the letter urged.