By Omar Bah
When the IEC rejected the nomination papers of GMC and its candidate Mai Fatty on 6th November, the party took the matter to the high court which ruled that the IEC’s action was illegal and ordered it to allow Fatty to submit fresh nomination papers which he did.
However, the electoral commission maintained that Fatty was disqualified but Fatty said he will go on to contest the election. The election is tomorrow and Fatty’s name is not on any ballot box.
So yesterday, a livid Mr Fatty, himself a lawyer of repute, wrote a protest letter to the IEC accusing the institution of “naked disregard for the law and due process”, and “unlawfully exclud[ing]” him from participating in the election.
Fatty said even after tomorrow’s “purported election” GMC will “resort to the law courts to vigorously challenge the illegal actions of the IEC”.
Mai Fatty’s letter to the IEC chairman read: “I write to refer you to the conclusion of the meeting between yourself and your CEO Mr Samboujang Njie and I (and on behalf of GMC), held at your offices on 30th November 2021, regarding our correspondence of 29th November 2021. We intimated that upon further reflection, and having regard to all of the relevant circumstances, we thought it prudent to retrieve and hold on to our nomination forms until the commission notified us formally to submit the forms, as it did on 1st November 2021.
“During the said meeting, your CEO Mr Samboujang Njie advised the meeting that our nomination papers had already been submitted to the IT unit, and were undergoing processing. Consequently, retrieval could not be made under the circumstances. In the light of that development, we decided to allow the processing to proceed, and verbally informed you to therefore disregard our said letter of 29th November 2021, which you did. If you hadn’t, you would have responded to us with urgency, as the said letter was on your desk on the date of our said meeting for your prompt response.
“You promised us at the said meeting that you shall revert to us following a final determination on our candidature by the commission. We are only a day from the election, and the only response from your office is deafening silence. This is a violation of the judgment and court order dated 24th November 2021. Take note that as of date, and this very minute, the IEC has not filed any process in any court in The Gambia to appeal against the said judgment or against GMC and myself.
“Further, you have not yet also filed a stay of execution in respect of the said judgment or orders made against you. Therefore, whatever actions, including declaration the IEC may make about our right to participate and stand as candidate in the 4th December 2021 elections, would clearly be seen as an afterthought, following your receipt of our correspondence.
“GMC and its candidate insist on exercising their entrenched constitutional rights, without equivocation. Your continued refusal to comply with the order of the court is sending a clear signal to the whole world of your naked disregard for the law and due process, and your clear intention to continue to unlawfully exclude us from participating in this election. GMC and its entire supporters globally shall continue to be law abiding, and shall resort to the law courts to vigorously challenge the illegal actions of the IEC, even after the purported election, scheduled for the 4th December 2021.”