*No enough judges in the Supreme Court to entertain matter
Outgoing President Yahya Jammeh of The Gambia has to fashion out a new gambit and trick to hang on precariously to the slipping power beyond next week, as his Supreme Court option against President-elect Adama Barrow’s election has run into a ditch.
Gambia’s Supreme Court said Tuesday that it cannot rule for several months on Jammeh’s challenge against his electoral defeat on 1st December due to a lack of judges.
“We can only hear this matter when we have a full bench of the Supreme Court,” Emmanuel Fagbenle, the court’s chief justice said Tuesday.
The Nigerian judge said the extra judges needed to hear the case were not available. The Gambia relies on mostly Nigerian judges, to staff its courts due to a lack of trained professionals in the tiny West African state. For so long, Nigerians have always been the Chief Judge in the nation’s highest court.
Jammeh’s political party lodged a legal case on his behalf last month aimed at annulling the election result and triggering new elections.
Fagbenle added that he would prefer the country to resolve its political deadlock through the mediation underway by a group of West African leaders, who are attempting to persuade Jammeh to respect the constitution and step aside.
“This is why alternative dispute resolution is important,” he said.
“We are now only left with the ECOWAS mediation initiative and the inter-party committee set up by government to resolve the dispute,” he said.
The leaders from the ECOWAS regional grouping led by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari will return to The Gambia for the second time Friday since the election.
They will attempt a diplomatic solution, but Nigeria’s foreign minister has said the use of force remains a last option, if it will be used.
By ECOWAS deadline, Jammeh has up till 19th January to quit office to allow the swearing-in of Adama Barrow on 20th January, as the new democratic leader of the country.