The U.S. government has frowned upon the filing of a petition to challenge the outcome of The Gambia’s presidential elections amid fear from Gambians that Jammeh may appoint foreign justices to the Supreme Court who may rule in his favor.
The U.S. said it does not believe such a court will be credible after the lawyers’ union in the country rejected Jammeh’s bid to constitute a Supreme Court to hear his challenge.
“We do not believe it will be heard by a credible court dedicated to ensuring the integrity of The Gambia’s democratic process,” the U.S. government said.
The Supreme Court, which needs at least five justices to hear Jammeh’s petition, including one selected by the bar association, only has one sitting judge who is Chief Justice Emmanuel Fagbenle, a Nigerian.
The APRC Party of President Yahya Jammeh accused the Independent Electoral Commission of incompetence and rigging the polls under pressure from the international community. Jammeh is calling for fresh polls in the petition.
Electoral Chief Alieu Njie warned Jammeh the legal challenge will not change the outcome of the results and insists they remain valid. Forces loyal to Jammeh sealed the electoral commission office and the UN warned that the security forces must vacate and not tamper with sensitive electoral materials.
President Yahya Jammeh lost to real estate developer Adama Barrow and he is refusing to hand over power. A closer look at the political impasse shows a glaring weakness of Jammeh’s hold on power.
For Gambians, a nightmare scenario is looking more and more like a possible reality, as the country is on edge. Cities remain calm but the feeling of the political tension can be felt.
Experts say the deadlock can plunge the beachside nation into a conflict that may destabilize the entire West African sub-region.
West African leaders are more for diplomacy to prevail over Jammeh to leave but are not putting off a military option to bend him to uphold the will of The Gambian people.