Gambian lawyers are demanding the resignation of country’s Nigerian Chief Justice Emmanuel Fagbenle for misconduct and abuse of office.
Mr. Fagbenle was seen participating in the defeated ruling party’s President Yahya Jammeh’s campaign and the bar association said he was seen “waving and dancing in support of the incumbent candidate” in front of the court premises.
Members of the judiciary reported seeing the Chief Justice wearing and distributing apparels in support of outgoing President Yahya Jammeh who has refused to step down.
Fagbenele has been accused of interfering with the work of judicial officials forcing them to dismiss cases which were deemed to be against President Yahya Jammeh’s government and causing judges to expedite the hearing and conviction of political cases.
“For these and other reasons, The Gambia Bar Association does not have faith in your ability to discharge the function of Chief Justice and we believe that you are not fit and proper person to hold the Constitutional position of Chief Justice of The Gambia,” said Sheriff Marie Tambadou, President of the Bar Association in a letter.
President Yahya Jammeh has filed a petition to challenge the outcome of the elections at the Supreme Court, in which Mr. Fagbenle is the only sitting judge. Jammeh had dismissed the remaining judges. His petition cannot be heard because at least five other justices are needed to hear it.
The local bar association has resisted the move and say it is against natural justice for Mr. Jammeh to constitute a Supreme Court for the sole purpose of hearing his election petition.
Jammeh had ignored repeated calls by the bar association to appoint new judges since last year.