The High Court in Banjul presided by Justice Mohoney has on Tuesday ruled that the Mayor of Banjul, Rohey Malick Lowe, violated the Constitution when she issued attestations to individuals seeking identification documents to register as voters in the just ended Independent electoral Commission’s voter roll buildup.
The High Court ruling came as a result of a lawsuit filed by two Civil Society organizations, Gambia Participates and the Centre for Research and Policy Development supported by the Councilor for Box Bar Ward, Banjul North, Abdou Aziz Gaye, on June 23rd, 2021.
These plaintiffs asked that the High Court declares illegal the issuing attestations to potential voters by the Mayor of Banjul, Rohey Malick Lowe, knowingly to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and the Attorney General.
After hearing the arguments of the lawyers for the plaintiffs and the defendants in a previous audience, the High Court ruled on Tuesday that the issuance of attestation to constituents is unlawful and a contravention of the Elections Act.
The High Court also ruled that the Gambia’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) acted illegally by authorizing Mayor Rohey Malick Lowe to issue attestations.
Like sought in the plaintiffs’ summons, the High Court’s ruling blesses the view that “There is no legislation that mandates a “Mayor” to issue attestations to constituents to apply for a voter’s card as this power and authority is only vested to Village Alkalo or District Chief (Seyfo) as per section. 12(2)(e).
Therefore, the actions of the IEC and the Mayor are ultra vires and a grave violation of the Election Act and other relevant laws.
The High Court’s ruling de facto nullifies all the voters’ cards issued to those registered in the roll after obtaining attestations from Mayor Rohey Malick Lowe through the IEC.
However, Mayor Rohey Malick Lowe may file an appeal within 14 days of today’s ruling if she believes that she still has case to argue.
If the Mayor of Banjul fails to appeal the ruling, the enforcement of today’s High Court ruling would determine how the IEC would weed out such voters from the national voter register before the December 4th presidential election.