Gambia election court ruling delayed for several months: judge

2017-01-10 21:00
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Banjul - Gambia's Supreme Court cannot rule for several months on President Yahya Jammeh's challenge against his electoral defeat last month due to a lack of judges, the court's chief justice said Tuesday.

"We can only hear this matter when we have a full bench of the Supreme Court," Emmanuel Fagbenle said, pointing out that the extra judges needed to hear the case were not available.

The Gambia relies on foreign judges, notably from Nigeria, to staff its courts due to a lack of trained professionals in the tiny west African state.

Jammeh's political party lodged a legal case on his behalf last month aimed at annulling the December 1 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 since the election on Wednesday to attempt a diplomatic solution, but Nigeria's foreign minister has said the use of force remains an option.

Read more on:    yahya jammeh  |  muhammadu buhari  |  nigeria  |  gambia  |  west africa

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