Ya Kumba VS. Pres. Barrow: Supreme Court races against time.
Being the first case of its kind in the country, lawyers and activists are excited at the fact that it will enrich the country’s fledgling democracy “as a first major test for the judiciary”. Ya Kumba’s proposed replacement Foday Gassama is due to be sworn in on March 18.
The Supreme Court of the Gambia is set to begin hearing the legal battle between President Adama Barrow and United Democratic Party’s Ya Kumba Jaiteh over the revocation of her nomination as a nominated lawmaker.
The Gambian leader has made a controversial attempt to remove the nominated lawmaker for unexplained reasons and replaced him with Foday Gassama.
Several activists including the Gambia Bar Association declared the president’s decision as unconstitutional. And on Friday, Kumba’s lawyers submitted a motion at the country’s top court seeking a declaration that the president’s action was “unconstitutional”
They are also seeking an interim order to restraint Speaker of the House Mariama Denton and Clerk of the National Assembly Momodou Ceesay from swearing in Ya Kumba’s proposed replacement Gassama.
The lawyers also seek to restraint Gassama from representing himself as a lawmaker in any way. However, holding all factors constant, Gassama would normally be sworn in on March 18, a day lawmakers resume sittings.
The date to swearing in of Gassama will be exactly 4 days after the Supreme Court began hearing the case which is March 14. They will consider three restraining order against Clerk, Speaker and Gassama. They will also consider the declaration on the constitutionality or otherwise of the president’s actions.
If the apex court ruled in favour of Barrow and co on the restraining order, thus allowing Gassama’s swearing in, the case would have been taken over by events.
As Ya Kumba’s case had its first day in court on Monday, lead counsel Borry Touray reminded the five judges on the bench the urgency of the matter as they race against the nomination day of Gassama.
However, the lawyer representing the attorney general, Binga D said he received the motion of Kumba’s lawyers on Friday, thus requesting until Thursday to peruse it.
The case comes up on Thursday to delve into the substance of the matter. Meanwhile, the court today was parked with mainly UDP supporters who have come to give Kumba a moral support.