Gambia Supreme Court yesterday declined to stop Thursday’s inauguration of President-elect Adama Barrow.
The Supreme Court ruling followed a petition by President Yahya Jammeh, seeking an injunction aimed at blocking Barrow’s swearing in.
Jammeh’s constitutional term in office is expected to end on Wednesday after he lost to businessman Barrow, in the December 1, 2016 poll.
Although he initially accepted defeat, he has since lodged a case before the Supreme Court requesting the result be annulled.
But the court is unable to hold a hearing until May – as most of the judges come from neighbouring countries – and Jammeh has said he is going nowhere until then.
Barrow, who has received the support of the international community, has said he would go ahead with his inauguration on Jan. 19 despite Jammeh’s rejection of the result.
Supreme Court Chief Justice Emmanuel Fagbenle told Jammeh’s lawyer that he could not make the order being sought to stop the January 19 inauguration.
Fagbenle said he was unable to preside over the motion filed because he was named in the petition.
Already, thousands of people have begun fleeing Gambia amid growing signs that ECOWAS could invade the former British colony within days.
Regional leaders have signalled their determination to mount a rare African defence of democratic principle by using force to ensure that Jammeh, Gambia’s president of 22 years, gives up power.
Ferry terminals on the River Gambia are recieving passengers hoping for safe passage into Senegal. The United Nations refugee agency says it is assessing the situation.