Lawyers in The West African nation of The Gambia said outgoing President Yahya Jammeh’s attempt to hold on to power despite losing the polls to a real estate developer is “tantamount to treason.”
“Further, this action is tantamount to treason under the provisions of Section 6(1) of the Constitution. We reject the subsequent statement by the APRC that it intends to file an election petition against the results published by the Independent Electoral Commission,” said Lawyer Sheriff Tambadou, the president of the bar association.
Gambian lawyers will be boycotting the courts in protest of Jammeh’s refusal to relinquish power and allow a peaceful transition of government. They have called on other unions and the security forces to respect the will of the people and pledge their allegiance to the President-elect Adama Barrow.
Gambian lawyers said there is no legitimate legal mechanism available in The Gambia to hear and determine the election petition filed by the outgoing President Jammeh or on his behalf.
President Yahya Jammeh has ignored repeated requests from the bar association to constitute a Supreme Court since May 2015.
“In the circumstance; it would be against the principles of natural justice for the outgoing President to appoint Supreme Court Judges to hear a Petition filed by him or on his behalf. That would be tantamount to one being a Judge in his own cause considering that the outgoing President has already pre-empted the outcome of Court process by declaring the election result as a nullity,” said Mr. Tambadou.
The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights has been urged to persuade the outgoing President to respect the outcome of the just concluded presidential elections and to further respect the relevant regional and international human rights instruments binding on The Gambia.