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.