In the matter of the UDP petition before the Supreme Court of the Gambia, the court and parties on Tuesday agreed a roadmap so as to expedite the hearing of the petition, and wrap up the matter within 30 days.

Consequently, it was announced that the hearing proper will start on 28 December. The roadmap includes timelines for the parties to present their case.

The five-member panel of judges led by the Chief Justice, Hassan B Jallow, has meanwhile granted the application by lawyers representing the president-elect, Adama Barrow, to withdraw their motion to dismiss the UDP petition before the apex court.

Lawyer Sheriff Tambedou leading the legal team of Adama Barrow, listed as the first respondent in the UDP petition, announced Tuesday that they filed “a motion of consolidation” before the court on 20 December, and have decided to apply to withdraw the previous motion for dismissal of the petition.

In responding to the application, Borry Touray and S. Camara, lawyers for the petitioner, urged the court to rule the application out of order, arguing that it is a delaying tactic by the first respondent.

However, after consultation, the court granted the first respondent’s request to withdraw the motion to dismiss the petition. It also awarded costs of D10 000 to the petitioner.

The court has now set 24 December for hearing of the consolidated motion filed by the lawyers of Adama Barrow.

During Tuesday’s hearing, the Chief Justice also declared that during the hearing, statements filed by the parties will be considered as evidence-in-chief upon which the witnesses will be cross-examined.

Meanwhile, the UDP’s amended petition now includes the Attorney General as the third respondent, who is being represented by a legal team led by the Solicitor General, Hussein Thomasi.

The petition filed earlier had only mentioned Adama Barrow as the first respondent and the IEC as the second respondent.

It would be recalled that the UFP filed the petition challenging the outcome of the presidential election held on December 4, in which the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) declared Adama Barrow of the National People’s Party (NPP) as the winner.

The petitioner claims election malpractices such as bribery, denial of UDP election agents access to the ballot boxes before the commencement of voting, and voting by non Gambians, among other alleged irregularities.

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Mr. Sainey M.K. Marenah is a Prominent Gambian journalist, founding editor The Alkamba Times and formerly head of communications at the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) and Communications and PR Consultant for The Gambia Pilot Program, under Gamworks. Mr. Marenah served as the Social media Strategist and Editor at Gambia Radio and Television Services. He is also the Banjul Correspondent for Voice of America Radio. Sainey is a human rights and developmental journalist who has carved a strong niche particularly in new media environments in the Gambian media industry. Mr. Marenah began his career as a junior reporter with the Point Newspaper in the Gambia in 2008 and rose through the ranks to become Chief correspondent before moving to The Standard Newspaper also in Banjul as Editorial Assistant and head of News. He is a household name in the Gambia’s media industry having covered some of the most important stories in the former and current government. These include the high profile treason cases including the Trial of Former military chiefs in Banjul in 2009 to 2012. Following his arrest and imprisonment by the former regime of President, Yahya Jammeh in 2014, Marenah moved to Dakar Senegal where he continues to practice Journalism freelancing for various local and international Media organization’s including the BBC, Al-Jazeera, VOA, and ZDF TV in Germany among others. He is the co-Founder of the Banjul Based Media Center for Research and Development; an institution specialized in research and development undertakings. As a journalist and Communication Expert, focused on supporting the Gambia's transitional process, Mr Marenah continues to play a pivotal role in shaping a viable media and communications platform that engages necessary tools and action to increase civic participation and awareness of the needs of transitional governance to strengthen the current move towards democratization. Mr. Marenah has traveled extensively as a professional journalist in both Europe, Africa and United States and attended several local and international media trainings.

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