By Bruce Asemota
Mai Ahmad Fatty, the presidential candidate of the Gambia Moral Congress, has been cleared to contest the forthcoming presidential election by the High Court, presided over by Justice Amina Saho-Ceesay.
Justice Ceesay’s decision came barely 24 hours after she delivered a similar verdict in favour of Dr Ismaila Ceesay of the Citizens’ Alliance, who too petitioned IEC over his rejection.
In her ruling in the Mai Fatty case, she declared that the Independent Electoral Commission did not comply with the Elections Act.
She further declared that the IEC’s rejection of Mai Fatty is null and void and tantamount to violation of his constitutional right to contest the presidential election on December 4.
Justice Ceesay revealed that the High Court has jurisdiction to hear and entertain this matter, noting that she totally disagrees with the Attorney General and Minister of Justice’s representative that she doesn’t have jurisdiction to hear the matter.
She ordered that the IEC should allow Mai Fatty to get fresh and additional nomination list of names and signatures.
She disclosed that the court has the discretion to award cost and therefore awarded the sum of D200.000.00 as cost against the Independent Electoral Commission.
Meanwhile, speaking to The Standard after the victory, Mai Fatty said: “The ruling today [Wednesday] reinforces our confidence in the new Gambian judiciary. Gambian democracy has been further consolidated and our Republic is the winner. Every Gambian can be proud that a Republican Constitution has yet again been accorded its rightful status in a democratic State. We went to court not only to protect and enforce entrenched Constitutional right, but moreso to establish the principle that officials entrusted with such humongous powers comply with the law. IEC is a creature of statute. Its employees or officials hold awesome powers of political hell or heaven on nominations.
Such extraordinary powers can be easily abused or misused. That was what the IEC did in my case. They intentionally misapplied the law to disenfranchise us. And worst still, there is clear evidence that the IEC has not learnt its lessons and appears not ready to make amends. The consequences may strengthen our democracy or set the country ablaze.
Our action in court is intended to protect future leaders who aspire for the highest office to be treated in accordance with the mandatory requirements of the law and not according to the subjective inclinations of anyone.
We are fully prepared and to get on the trail, although they intend to absolutely frustrate the effects of the court’s ruling in all manner possible. We will conduct a press conference tomorrow [Thursday] to speak to the Nation about the way forward.”