The party of Gambia’s outgoing president, Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction, has filed an injunction to stop the inauguration of the incoming President elect Adama Barrow, country’s chief justice Emmanuel Fagbele has confirmed to Anadolu Agency late Thursday.
Gambia was plunged into a crisis on Dec. 9 when Yahya Jammeh, who has held power in the small west African state since 1994, rejected the election results a week after conceding defeat to Barrow, a little-known property developer.
Jammeh said the electoral process was tainted with “unacceptable irregularities” and ordered a new vote before filing a petition seeking to annul the results.
The APRC lawyer, Edward Gomez, declined to comment on the story but he vaguely asked journalists to confirm “with the Supreme Court registrar from 5 to 6” Gambian time, suggesting the time that it will be filed.
Meanwhile, Halifa Sallah, the spokesperson of the coalition told journalists at a press conference Thursday evening that the injunction at the court can’t stop an inauguration of a president.
“We know for a fact that when the term of the outgoing president ends, it is the president elect who will take his seat… Who is going to be the president of Gambia after the term (of Jammeh) expires, the same president again who is not declared elected? So the only person who can occupy the seat of presidency is the person who is declared elected,” Sallah told journalists late Thursday evening.
“So what is proper now is for those who are going to court to continue to go to court and for the transition to continue.”
Aziz Bensouda, the secretary general of the Gambia Bar Association, told Anadolu Agency that the country’s Supreme Court does not have the power to stop the inauguration of President elect Adama Barrow.
He said the court has no power to extend the term of a president and Jammeh’s term expires on Jan. 19, thus there will be no president if Barrow is not inaugurated.
“The Supreme Court injunction cannot extend the term of a president,” he argued.
Jammeh has filed a petition at the Supreme Court where sittings won’t happen until May due to absence of judges but he is still insisting that Barrow’s inauguration should wait until May when his petition will be heard.
President elect Barrow has already assigned a team working on his inauguration.
The regional leaders who are mediating the crisis are due in the country on Friday.