TAT editorial – Will Supreme Court revisit ruling on UDP Petition?


The matter of the UDP petition is back before the Supreme Court, according to papers seen by TAT.

The UDP on Monday 10 January 2022 filed a motion seeking leave of the court to apply for a review of its ruling on 28 December 2021.

In the submission made, it is claiming “sufficient grounds” to warrant leave of the court to bring a substantive application for review.

It wants this granted “in the interest of a fair hearing in order to avert a gross miscarriage of justice.”

The ball is now in the court of the Supreme Court, so to speak, which is being asked to allow the application to review its decision to dismiss the UDP election petition.

Following the court’s ruling dismissing its petition, and within the 15 days required by the Supreme Court Act and rules, the UDP exercises it’s right to use the procedures and processes to ask for a review of its decision.

The Court Act and rules provide for such review on the grounds of “exceptional circumstance which have resulted in a miscarriage of justice.”

In the motion ex parte seen by TAT, counsel for the UDP made a submission that “the court has inadvertently made fundamental errors in striking out the petition on the grounds of non-adherence got Rule 11.”

The cases cited and relied upon by the court “no longer reflect progressive international human rights law on the interpretation of election petition rules.”

Counsel added that the court “deprived the petitioner of its constitutional right to challenge the election, even though the petitioner had already filed its evidence as ordered by the court.

“It thereby also deprived the petitioner of its fundamental rights to a fair hearing and, by extension, the political rights of its supporters conferred by the constitution.”

The UDP in its motion said it “set out a prima facie case for the Court to revisit its ruling in the interest of ensuring that this petition which is of grave public concern is heard and disposed of on its merits, and not by some technical side wind that has deprived the petitioner and its constituents of their rights to a fair hearing”.

Well, TAT recently did share with our esteemed readers one legal commentary, as captured in the opinion piece entitled “Election Petition: An Opportunity for Gambia’s electoral Jurisprudence”. It is pertinent!

Lawyer Sarjo Barrow, a jurist, says “the UDP petition is suitable for the Gambia.”

“Although hindsight is not 20/20, after a thoughtful analysis and comparing the trends in the sub-region, Gambia has an opportunity to consolidate her democratic gains, strengthen the rule of law, and cement her trust in our judiciary.

“UDP’s election petition will undoubtedly be the seminal case for our election jurisprudence.

“Without interrogating the predicate motives behind the suit, every fair-minded Gambian should take solace that UDP brought this suit to our apex court. Why?

“It is imperative to have in place a credible and transparent system to address allegations of electoral malpractice…”

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