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IEC, AG ask court to refuse Sabally's application

Mar 28, 2022, 12:00 PM | Article By: Alagie Baba

The Independent Electoral Commission and Attorney General (AG) have opposed Momodou Sabally's application seeking court order directing the electoral body to accept his nomination as a candidate for the April 2022 National Assembly elections.

A onetime Presidential Affairs minister, secretary general and head of Civil Service, Mr. Sabally is asking the high court to issue an order directing the Independent Electoral Commission to accept his nomination as a candidate for Busumbala constituency for the April 2022 National Assembly elections.

His nomination was on the10th March rejected by the Returning Officer for the Brikama Administrative Area. The IEC upheld the decision of the Returning Officer when Sabally appealed.

He wants the high court to set-aside both decisions and order them to accept his nomination as the decision to reject him was wrong.

Sabally said the Returning Officer and Chairman of IEC were wrong in rejecting his nomination based on section 90 subsection 1 (e) as the White Paper and the Report of the Commission.

Sulayman Joof, the Director of Administration at the IEC denied Sabally's statement describing it as ‘totally false and misleading.’ Joof said the decision was reached pursuant to the relevant constitutional provisions as manifested in the Commission of Inquiry Report. He added that the Returning Officer and the IEC were correct in reaching that decision as opposed to Sabally's claim.

The Attorney General denied Sabally's statement saying ‘the decision to reject the Applicant's nomination is based on Section 90 (1) (e) of the Constitution which is in line with the law.’

Sabally said: “In totality, I verily believe that the decision of the 1st and 2nd Respondents (The Returning Officer for Brikama Administrative Area and the Chairman of IEC) are wrong hence I approached this honourable court for an urgent redress.”

Joof for the IEC denied Sabally's statement describing it as ‘totally false and misleading.’ Joof said the decisions were reached pursuant to the relevant constitutional provisions and it is manifested in the Commission of Inquiry Report. He submitted that the Returning Officer and the IEC were not wrong in reaching that decision as opposed to Sabally's claim.

The Attorney General denied Sabally's statement as he reiterated that ‘the decision to reject the Applicant's nomination is based on Section 90 (1) (e) of the Constitution which is in line with the law.’

Sabally said the Returning Officer and the Chairman of IEC misused the provisions of the 1997 Constitution and as a result ‘arrived at a wrong decision’.

Joof for IEC denied Sabally's statement saying the Returning Officer and the Commission rightly applied the provision of the Constitution.  He added that the decision to reject him was right to all intents and purposes.

The Attorney General denied Sabally's statement as he reiterated that the decision to reject the Applicant's nomination was based on the Constitution.

Sabally, in his statement in support said the Returning Officer for the Brikama Administrative Area was appointed by the Chairman of the IEC. However, the IEC have denied this fact saying the Returning Officer was appointed by the Commission and not the Chairman.

Sabally says the Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission is responsible for the administration of elections in The Gambia and has, in the last two weeks, been presiding over the nomination of candidates for the April elections across the country for the National Assembly elections.

Both the Attorney General and IEC have opposed this statement by Mr Sabally.  The IEC regards the statement as ‘totally false and misleading' saying the Returning Officer was appointed by the Commission and not the Chairperson.

Sabally said the Returning Officer's rejection his nomination was premised on his understanding that there is a Commission of Inquiry findings against him which makes him ineligible to contest for the April 2022 National Assembly elections.

Sulayman Joof of the IEC, who swore an affidavit for the Commission indicated in his statement that Sabally's statement was ‘totally false and misleading'. Joof said the Returning Officer acted in line with relevant laws governing the decision to reject Sabally's nomination for the April 2022 elections.

Sabally said the Returning Officer did not state that he did not fulfil any criteria for nomination. The IEC said Sabally's statement was ‘totally false and misleading' as he denied the statement. It was the position of the IEC that he (Sabally) did not fulfil the constitutional requirements for the nominations of candidates for National Assembly elections and this was clearly stated in Sabally's exhibit marked ‘MS2’. The Attorney General also submitted that Sabally was informed that he did not meet the requirements for nomination for National Assembly elections in terms of section 90 subsection 1 paragraph 3 of the Constitution, which outlines the disqualification provisions for the office Sabally was seeking nomination.

Sabally said the Returning Officer rejected his nomination ‘no sooner than my submission of the papers. He did not take his time to examine my papers thoroughly.’

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