As leaders of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, gather in The Gambia capital, Banjul, in a last ditch effort to persuade outgoing president Yahya Jammeh, to accept the result of the December 1 presidential election, the country’s ruling party has filed an application asking the Supreme Court for an order stopping the January 19 inauguration of the new government.
The Gambia’s Supreme Court had on Monday adjourned the hearing of the election petition to January 16, because it couldn’t raise the required quorum due the refusal of Nigeria and Sierra Leone to send judges to adjudicate on the matter as requested by the country’s judiciary.
Though the court advised the parties in the matter to seek alternative means of resolving the logjam, Mr. Jammeh vowed he was not going to relinquish power outside the orders of the Supreme Court.
The application filed on Thursday by the country’s ruling Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction, APRC, is effectively asking the country’s Supreme Court for an extension of Mr. Jammeh’s tenure pending the time the Supreme Court will be able decide on his challenge of the election result.
In the application signed by its lawyer, Edward Gomez, the APRC is asking the court for an order of interlocutory injunction preventing the Chief Judge of the country from inaugurating or swearing in Mr. Barrow as the President of The Gambia until the determination of the election petition.
The party also is asking the court for an order “restraining, the President from preparing, arranging, organising, conducting, partaking or participating in any manner or form in the swearing-in and /or inauguration of Adama Barrow as President of the Republic of The Gambia on January 19, 2017.”
The APRC further prayed the court for an order restraining the country’s national Assembly, its members and any organ of government from partaking in the inauguration of Mr Barrow.
Lastly, the party prayed the court for an order stopping Mr Barrow from presenting himself to the country’s Chief Judge or judiciary to be sworn-in as the President of The Gambia.
An affidavit deposed in support of the applications by a member of the APRC, Seedy Njie, stated that Mr. Barrow “will not be prejudiced in anyway if he is sworn-in or inaugurated any time after January 19, 2017.”
Mr. Njie also claimed that “there is intimidation, fear, and tension among The Gambians, which may lead to breakdown of law and order if the swearing-in or inauguration is allowed to take place before determination of the petition of the applicant.
“The the applicant, the candidate it sponsored, Yahya Jammeh, the President of the Republic of The Gambia, will be prejudiced and will suffer irreparable loss if Adama barrow is Sworn-in or inaugurated while its petition is pending,” Mr Njie said.