By Bruce Asemota
Justice Amina Saho-Ceesay, presiding over the petition filed by Dr Ismaila Ceesay Citizens’ Alliance against the Independent Electoral Commission yesterday, has ordered that the Attorney General and Minister of Justice be joined as a respondent in the suit.
According to the judge, the Attorney General is a necessary and proper party to be joined in the suit because he is the principal legal adviser to the government.
She said the IEC is mandated to conduct public elections and referenda and as a result, the case is of public interest and joining the Attorney General in the suit would represent public interest.
The judge’s order was premised on the applicants’ legal counsel, Lawyer C. E. Mene who informed the court that the applicants see it fit to file the petition without joining the Attorney General.
Mene submitted that the name Independent Electoral Commission suggests that the body is independent and not a government agency, so the applicants didn’t see it fit to join the Attorney General as a party.
He cited the case of IEC versus NADD which was heard without joining the Attorney General in the suit.
Lawyer K.Sanyang, legal counsel for IEC, argued that the constitution operates throughout the length and breadth of the country, noting that IEC programmes or policies and activities affect the country.
He said the constitution mandates the IEC to organise public elections and to say that the Attorney General has nothing to do with the IEC is incorrect.
On the issue of the court hearing the originating summons filed by the applicants, Lawyer K.Sanyang informed the court that the IEC is vehemently opposed to the originating summons.
Lawyer Sanyang craved the court to oblige the respondent (IEC) a short adjournment so as to prepare its affidavits in opposition to the originating summons.
In his reply, lawyer C.E.Mene informed the court that IEC was served with all the processes and that he is opposed to the application for adjournment and insisted that the matter should proceed as scheduled.
Lawyer Mene further argued that the IEC chose not to file their reply as a delaying tactic on the matter when other political parties are engaged in their campaign.
However, the judge disclosed that as a matter of urgency, she would hear the case on a daily basis and it was adjourned to today at 9am, 2pm on Thursday and 10-12noon on Friday.