By Omar Bah
The spokesperson of the United Democratic Party has accused the Independent Electoral Commission of trying to run down the clock in taking a decision on Sheriffo Sonko’s dismissal.
“What is going on is very clear – the IEC is trying to run the clock down. If the law is very clear, why is the IEC not obeying the law? What is their justification for that?” Almami Taal told The Standard yesterday.
“It is not for them to listen to petitions, applications or comments and it is not even proper for the IEC to come out and say they will take a decision in this way or that way. The law is absolutely clear – what they are expected to do is to comply with the law. Every other Gambian’s obligation is to follow the law – if you want to challenge the validity of the law – the only place that is open to you is the court. But for the IEC to be engaged in this kind of process, I think a lot of Gambians will start losing confidence in them,” he said.
He added: “I know that there is a legislative process that is going to go through its own process because that is also guided by law. However whenever that process is complete it cannot have retroactive effect because it would be unconstitutional. That is what the 1997 constitution says – that you cannot make any law to prejudice the right that already exists or make a law to vary a court judgement. This is the law of The Gambia. So really, I think we all have a responsibility to hold our leaders accountable, particularly offices that have been created by law to be seen to be dilly-dallying with a clear directive of the law. It cannot be acceptable in a democracy like ours – people will lose confidence in our offices.”
The BAC chairman Sheriffo Sonko was recently expelled by the United Democratic Party which renders his elective seat vacant, according to the Local Government Act.
His deputy, Ismaila Jallow formally notified the IEC about the development but chairman Sonko has since countered with his own letter to the Election House urging them to ignore Jallow’s letter which he said was forged and written without the consent of the council. However, the deputy chairman has written back to the IEC with the support of many councilors reaffirming that his letter is authentic and a reflection of the state of affairs in the council on the sacking of Chairman Sonko. The deputy chairman urged the IEC to take his letter as the official notification from the council .
The IEC chairman Alieu Momarr Njai told The Standard on Monday the commission was going to take a decision on the matter yesterday, Wednesday but all efforts to reach the IEC officials from the chairman to the PRO proved unsuccessful as they would not pick their calls. The Standard contacted the deputy chairman of BAC Ismaila Jallow who informed this paper that he has not received any notification from the IEC.