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Supreme Court Urged To Invalidate Appointments Of Rambo Jatta & Fatoumatta Jahumpa Ceesay

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Hon. Ousainu Darboe, plaintiff Madi Ceesay, NAM Serekunda West, Kemo Bojang and Aji Yamundaw Yarbo at the Supreme Court

ANM Ousainu Darboe, the United Democratic Party’s (UDP) leader, has urged the Gambia’s Supreme Court to invalidate the diplomatic appointments of Rambo Jatta and Fatoumatta Jahumpa Ceesay.

Fatoumatta Jahumpa Ceesay has been designated as the High Commissioner of the Gambia to South Africa, and Rambo Jatta has been named the Gambian Consular to the same nation.

These designations are contested by Hon. Madi Ceesay, the National Assembly Member for Serekunda West, and the UDP, citing violations of sections 169 and 170 of the Gambia’s Constitution and the General Orders for Public Service (G.O. 3104).

Hon. Ceesay and the United Democratic Party (UDP) are seeking a Supreme Court declaration that President Adama Barrow’s appointment of the duo is unconstitutional.

The UDP introduced video evidence accepted by the court, including transcriptions provided by Hon. Kemo Bojang, a distinguished UDP member.

In presenting arguments to the court regarding the legality of the appointments of Fatoumatta Jahumpa Ceesay and Rambo Jatta, Lawyer ANM Darboe contended that their appointments ran afoul of sections 169 and 170 of The Gambia’s Constitution.

Lawyer Ousainou Darboe emphasized that the Constitution explicitly delineates the President’s authority to make appointments.

The seasoned Lawyer asserted that every citizen retains the right to contest any action that violates the Constitution, citing Section 5 thereof.

Furthermore, Lawyer Ousainou Darboe stressed that constitutional provisions safeguard against the politicization of such appointments.

He further contended that the appointments of Fatoumatta Jahumpa Ceesay and Rambo Jatta were made in bad faith and thus should be invalidated by the Supreme Court.

Attorney Darboe directed the court’s attention to the evidence they presented, predominantly comprising diverse video recordings along with their transcripts.

The leader of the UDP highlighted a specific video wherein Fatoumatta Jahumpa Ceesay was audible, introducing herself as the Party Leader.

Lawyer Ousainou Darboe quoted from the transcript of the said video, which states that: “Our party leader is coming—a woman of substance who makes the party proud. Let me welcome my lord, Her Excellency, the Ambassador of South Africa, Hon. Fatoumatta Jahumpa Ceesay.”

Lawyer Darboe also referred the court to another video that was admitted as evidence regarding the APRC Congress, in which Fatoumatta Jahumpa Ceesay was presenting the congress report as the Secretary General of the APRC Party. 

“So, My Lords, there is nothing in their defence that protects them from Section 170 of the Constitution,” Darboe submitted. 

In relation to the allegations against Rambo Jatta, Lawyer Darboe stated in a video obtained from Kerr Fatou, which has already been admitted as evidence, that Rambo was quoted saying, “I am Rambo Jatta, the Second Party Leader of the APRC and a seasoned politician.”

Lawyer Ousainou Darboe further asserted that the announcement of Rambo Jatta and Fatoumatta Jahumpa Ceesay’s resignation occurred only after the case had been filed against them.

The veteran lawyer argued that their resignation was officially announced by Musa Amul Nyassi and was also published in The Standard Newspaper in The Gambia.

“The announcement didn’t come until this case was filed. There was no resignation before the case, but once the case was filed, they resigned,” Lawyer Darboe submitted. 

Lawyer Ousainou Darboe emphasized to the Supreme Court Judges that the appointments of Rambo Jatta and Fatoumatta Jahumpa Ceesay were unconstitutional and lacked a legal foundation.

He further asserted that the President’s actions were in direct contradiction to the provisions outlined in the Constitution during their appointment.

Additionally, Lawyer Ousainou Darboe cited several relevant cases from the Federal Republic of Nigeria, urging the court to consider these precedents in determining the case.

“If a decision or proceeding is smeared with nullity, it is void and taken as if it was never given or made,” Lawyer Darboe submitted. 

The veteran Lawyer urged the Supreme Court to set aside or nullify their appointments, since their appointments do not exist by law.

“Since the decision is offensive to the law, it must be mowed down by the unbiased judicial sword of this court,” Lawyer Darboe submitted while quoting from a Nigerian authority.

Darboe further referred the court to sections 166 and 170 of the 1997 Constitution. 

“My Lords, any appointment that did not follow the Constitution, the court has to declare that as a nullity as this Supreme Court did in the case of Yakumba Jaiteh versus the clerk of the National Assembly,” he submitted. 

It is the submission of Lawyer Ousainou Darboe that all appointees in the foreign services should come from the Ministry of Foreign Service and not from political parties.

“My Lord, so their resignation cannot validate their appointments, and the court has to declare the appointments null and unconstitutional,” Lawyer Darboe submitted. 

Lawyer Ida Drammeh, representing Rambo Jatta and Fatoumatta Jahumpa Ceesay, asserted that she required only 10 minutes to present her oral arguments in the case brought by the United Democratic Party (UDP) and Madi M.K. Ceesay, the National Assembly Member for Serekunda West.

Counsel Drammeh informed the court that she would submit a written brief outlining her argument and then take 10 minutes to present it.

The Supreme Court granted this request, and Counsel Drammeh was directed to provide the UDP’s Lead Lawyer with a copy of her brief, as requested by the lead lawyer.

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