Court to deliver ruling on preliminary objection filed on Kuntaur Chairmanship election petition

Thursday, September 13, 2018

The chief justice of The Gambia, Justice Hassan B. Jallow yesterday, 12 September, 2018 adjourned the ruling of the preliminary objection filed Saihou Jawara; the first respondent on the Kuntaur Area Council Chairmanship election petition to a date yet to be announced.

Lawyer Moses B.J. Richards filed a preliminary objection challenging the motion filed by the applicant, Aussainou Jobarteh seeking for extension of time for the filling of the said election petition.

Lawyer Richard’s preliminary objection is anchored on the grounds that the applicant; Aussainou Jobarteh filed the said election petition out of time and the first respondent’s counsel therefore seeks the High Court to dismiss the said petition.

It could be recalled that Aussainou Jobarteh, the UDP candidate for the area filed the election petition against Saihou Jawara, Mustapha F.M. Jobe, The returning officer of Kuntaur Area Council and the Attorney General before the High Court.

Aussainou Jobarteh of Kayai village in the Central River Region North District is contesting the results of 12 May, 2018 Chairmanship election held for the Kuntaur Area Council in which Saihou Jawara was elected as the chairman of the said council.

Aussainou Jobarteh claimed he voted in the 12th of May, 2018 Chairmanship election and has right to be returned or elected at the Chairmanship elections held for the Kuntaur Area Council.

Aussainou Jobarteh further claimed that Saihou Jawara, the 1st respondent and Mustapha F.M. Jobe, the 2nd respondent were candidates in the said election and the returning officer, the 3rd respondent returned Saihou Jawara, the 1st respondent as duly elected.

The petition stated that Kuntaur Area Council was divided into five electoral districts/constituencies namely; kuntaur, Lower Saloum, Upper Saloum, Niani-ja, Niani and Sami.

The petition also stated that each of the electoral district/constituencies had polling stations which were identified by names as well as code.

The petition further stated that at the end of the voting, counting of votes took place at the polling stations where voters voted, counting was on the spot, and was carried out in the presence and full view of agents representing and protecting the interest of each of the candidates.

The petition also stated that at the end of the counting, the presiding officer fills a polling station results form, wherein the records or votes polled by each candidates was recorded, whilst the presiding officer, the agent representing each of the candidate all signed the polling station’s results form to authenticate the results as recorded in the said form.

The petitioner, Aussainou Jobarteh disclosed that during the trial he would produce and rely on the various polling station results form, that were duly signed by the presiding officer and the agent for each of the candidate authenticating the number of votes polled by each candidate.

Aussainou Jobarteh claimed that he was duly elected as the chairman of Kuntaur Area Council at the said election held on the 12th of May, 2018 and not Saihou Jawara.

It could be recalled that the said election petition was first filed before the Supreme Court of the Gambia but was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction by the said court in May and thereafter the election petition was then filed at the High Court.

The 1st respondent’s counsel, Moses Richards filed a preliminary objection that the said petition was filed out of time despite the fact that the petitioner had filed a motion seeking for extension of time.

Meanwhile, after the counsel for the first respondent, Moses Richards and lawyer Antouman A.B. Gaye, the applicant’s counsel advanced their arguments, the presiding judge, chief justice sitting as a single judge adjourned the matter for ruling to a date to be communicated to the parties by serving them with hearing notices.

Author: Bruce Asemota