Government sued by opposition

President Yahya Jammeh of The Gambia replaced the head of the West African nation’s Independent Electoral Commission after the opposition parties filed a petition in the country’s Supreme Court contesting the constitutionality of Mr Mustapha Carayol having to conduct presidential polls scheduled for this winter.

The opposition in The Gambia has accused Mr Carayol of being impartial and the regional ECOWAS bloc said the country’s 2011 presidential election were not free and fair, putting his integrity into question.


Opposition parties boycotted the 2011 local government and parliamentary votes and instead demanded electoral reforms.

Under Mr Carayol, reforms came but it was not what the opposition wanted. The reforms introduced tighter electoral regulations including a 1000% increment in nomination fees for presidential candidates and registration fees for political parties. Opposition parties in The Gambia are financially handicapped (may be unable to pay the new fees) and negotiations between them to form a coalition continue to stall.


Presidency deny Carayol was fired

Samba Bah is the minority leader for the National Reconciliation Party in The Gambia’s National Assembly. He has made it a priority on his agenda to see Mr Carayol leave office.

“Elections are sensitive. In most parts of the world, it had led to instability,” the lawmaker said. The other lawmakers, all of them part of the Gambia’s ruling APRC party, were mute as the opposition politician brought forward a demand for a “more credible person” to lead the body.

The opposition recently filed a complaint at the Supreme Court. The petition is unknown to many but President Yahya Jammeh in an attempt to keep it from making the news reacted quickly replacing Mr Carayol with yet another member of his ruling APRC party, Mr Alieu Momarr Njai, who was once the deputy mayor of the country’s commercial and industrial hub, Kanifing Municipality.

Parliamentary Majority Leader Fabakary Jatta denied opposition claims that President Jammeh has been engaged into the need to replace the electoral commission chief and the country’s presidency denied media reports that Mr Carayol was fired. The presidency said former Chairman Carayol has gone into retirement.

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