By Bruce Asemota
The Supreme Court of The Gambia has directed the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to file the necessary processes in the suit filed by Bakary Bunja Dabo, the secretary general of Gambia For All party, against it and the Attorney General on election matters relating to Section 17 of the Election (Amendment) Act 2015 among others.
BB Dabo, the founding father for ‘Gambia For All’ political party that was registered in January 2020, was living outside The Gambia from 1994 to 2017.
In the suit, BB Dabo contends that it is onerous condition to require all political parties applying for registration after the commencement of the Election (Amendment) Act 2015 to pay a registration fee of D1 million and to submit a declaration signed by at least 10,000 registered voters with at least 1000 members from each administrative area, pledging their support to the party and requesting for its registration.
BB Dabo contends that this condition does not apply to political parties that have been previously registered and it’s therefore discriminatory.
Dabo is also seeking a declaration that the amendments to the Election (Amendment) Act 2015 are unconstitutional, null and void.
He is also seeking an order to strike out Section 105 (1) (e) (f) and (g) and subsection 2 (f) (i) and (j) of the Elections Act as amended by the Section 17 of the Elections (Amendment) Act 2015.
The plaintiff also asked the Supreme Court to direct the IEC to register Gambians living outside The Gambia to enable them participate in all public elections and referenda.
During yesterday’s sitting, lawyer Hawa Sise Sabally, the plaintiff’s counsel informed the court that she has been served with the 1st defendant (Attorney General’s) motion on notice and statement of case but has not received that of the 2nd defendant (IEC).
She read out the Supreme Court order made on the 16th September, 2020 wherein the court ordered the parties to file their processes.
She indicated that the IEC has not carried out the order and she asked the court to advise her as to what line of action to take.
Chief Justice Hassan B. Jallow asked if there was any representative of the IEC in the court and one Sambujang Njie rose and appealed to the court to give IEC time to file their processes, adding that he would inform the Commission when he gets back to the office.
Chief Justice Jallow told Sambujang that the Supreme Court would want to hear the case this session.
Chief Justice Hassan B. Jallow asked Sambujang to file the IEC processes so the court can hear the matter.
The matter was adjourned to the 4th December, 2020 for hearing.