Tuesday, January 10, 2017 11:37 pm
Efforts of The Gambia’s President Yayah Jammeh to use the judiciary to remain in power beyond January 19, after losing the December 1st election to opposition Adama Barrow appeared to have hot a dead end on Tuesday.
The Gambia’s Supreme Court said on Tuesday, that it cannot rule for several months on Jammeh’s challenge against his electoral defeat due to a lack of judges.
The court’s chief justice, Emmanuel Fagbenle said: “we can only hear this matter when we have a full bench of the Supreme Court.”
The Gambia relies on foreign judges, notably from Nigeria, to staff its courts due to a lack of trained professionals in the tiny West African state.
Jammeh’s political party lodged a legal case on his behalf last month aimed at annulling the December 1 election result and triggering new elections.
Fagbenle said that he would prefer the country to resolve its political deadlock through the mediation underway by a group of West African leaders, who are attempting to persuade Jammeh to respect the constitution and step aside.
“This is why alternative dispute resolution is important. We are now only left with the ECOWAS mediation initiative and the inter-party committee set up by government to resolve the dispute.”
The leaders from the ECOWAS regional grouping led by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, will return to The Gambia for the second time on Friday since the election.
They will attempt a diplomatic solution, but Nigeria’s foreign minister has said the use of force remains an option.
By ECOWAS deadline, Jammeh has up till 19 January to quit office to allow the swearing in of Adama Barrow on 20 January, as the new leader.