On Wednesday, The Gambia’s Supreme Court announced its adjournment of President Yahya Jammeh’s case against the December 1 elections until January 10.
Yahya Jammeh is seeking to annul the December 1 elections which saw independent candidate, Adama Barrow, emerge the winner.
The Supreme Court, presided by Nigerian-born Chief Justice Emmanuel Fagbenle, ordered the adjournment due to the chief defendant, the Gambia’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) being unsummoned to attend the hearing.
Jammeh’s lawyer, Edward Gomez, had informed the court that the IEC had not been served with a summons by Jammeh, the plaintiff. He argued that it was in the interest of justice to give time for the IEC to receive the papers requiring it to attend.
The case has been adjourned to January 10, just 9 days before the pre-set inauguration of President-elect Adama Barrow.
President Yahya Jammeh who has been president of The Gambia since he took over in a 1994 coup was defeated by the candidate of the coalition of opposition parties in Gambia whose individual candidates had been arrested prior to the elections.
Yahya Jammeh had initially accepted the result, even calling the President-Elect Adama Barrow to congratulate him on his victory. However, a few days later, President Jammeh stated that he was rejecting the result, citing irregularities in the electoral process, filing a petition to the Supreme Court challenging the election.
Prior to the December 1 election, he had urged Gambians not to contest the result regardless of the outcome, stating that Gambia’s polls are ‘fraud-proof”, “rigged proof” and protests would be pointless.
“Our election system is fraud-proof, rig-proof, you cannot rig our elections,” he said President Yahya Jammeh’s term comes to an end in January. “There is no reason that anybody should demonstrate. [Demonstrations] are the loopholes that are used to destabilise African governments.
The Supreme Court has been dormant since May 2015 and Yahya Jammeh recently appointed six foreign judges, excluding Fagbenle to serve on the Supreme Court.
President Jammeh’s lawyer says going to court is a right that should not be denied, however, experts believe the strongman president is trying to buy time to extend his office stay.