By Yankuba Jallow
In the civil suit before the Supreme Court of the Gambia, Ya Kumba Jaiteh appealed for the Court to restrain the NA from swearing in Foday Gassama, who was recently nominated by the president to replace her.
Ya Kumba Jaiteh whose nomination was revoked through a letter from the Office of the President, filed a civil case before the Supreme Court under Section 127 of the Constitution, for a declaration that the president has no powers to revoke the membership of a nominated NA member.
In the suit, the first defendant is the Clerk of the NA, the 2nd defendant is the Speaker of the NA, the 3rd defendant is Foday Gassama, the newly nominated member of the NA, and the 4th defendant is the Attorney General.
When the case was called before a panel of the Supreme Court, Lawyers Bory S. Touray, Lamin L. Darboe, A. Aziz Bensouda, Momodou W. Jallow, Sherrif Kumba Jobe, and Amie Ceesay Jallow, all announced their representation for the plaintiff whereas Binga D. and N. Jarju, appeared for the Clerk of the National Assembly, the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Attorney General.
Lawyer Bory S. Touray, the Lead Counsel for the plaintiff, told the Court that they have a pending motion dated March 5th 2019. He appealed for the Court to treat the pending motion as a matter of urgency.
In his reply to the application, the Counsel for the Defendants Binga D., told the Court that he was served on 8th March 2019 and needs two days to reply on the said motion. His application was not objected to by the plaintiff’s Counsels and the Court granted the application.
Also, Lawyer Touray made an application for the Court to grant an interim order to restrain the National Assembly from swearing in the newly nominated member of the NA, Foday Gassama. He asked the Court to grant the application as a matter of urgency; that if not the motion could be taken over by events.
In her appeal to the Supreme Court, Ya Kumba brought the following action to seek the indulgence of the Supreme Court to determine nine issues, namely:
- A declaration that the seat of a member of the National Assembly may only be vacated pursuant to Section 91 (1) and not in any other circumstance;
- A declaration that no person or authority other than the Supreme Court of the Gambia, is competent to determine the question of whether or not the Plaintiff’s seat or any other member’s seat in the National Assembly has become vacant;
- A declaration that the purported termination of the Plaintiff’s membership of the National Assembly through an Executive decision communicated to the Plaintiff by a letter referenced PR/C/66/Vol4/(66-EOC) and dated 25th February 2019, is null and void and of no effect;
- A declaration that the Plaintiff is a member of the National Assembly, and her seat not having been vacated through an event of disqualification;
- An order directing the Defendants and any other person or authority of whatever description, not to interfere, impede or obstruct the Plaintiff in the performance of her constitutional functions as a member of the National Assembly until she ceases to be a member, by virtue of Section 91 of the Constitution of the Republic of the Gambia;
- A declaration of the purported nomination of the 3rd Defendant as a nominated member of the National Assembly to be null and void and of no effect;
- An order restraining the 2nd Defendant (the Speaker of the National Assembly), from administering the prescribed oath under Section 88 (2) onto the 3rd Defendant (Foday Gassama);
- An order restraining the 1st and 2nd Defendants (the Clerk and the Speaker respectively) from attempting in any manner, to bestow upon the 3rd Defendant (Mr. Gassama), any right, privilege or role as member of the National Assembly; and
- An order restraining the 3rd Defendant from parading himself as a member of the National Assembly in any manner or form.
The matter was adjourned to 18th March 2019 at 9:30 am for hearing of the motion. It should be of interest to the readership that Ya Kumba Jaiteh was a member of the NA until the 3rd December 2018, when President Adama Barrow nominated Foday Gassama to replace her after her nomination was revoked by the one who nominated her.