By Yankuba Jallow
The leader of APRC party, Mr. Fabakary Tombong Jatta, has said that the APRC is alive and kicking and will never die, as claimed by others.
The former minority leader at the National Assembly during the former regime of Yaya Jammeh, was speaking at a mass political rally held by his Alliance for Patriotic Re-orientation and Construction party (APRC), at the Buffer Zone on Saturday 28th October 2017 where thousands of supporters and well-wishers of the party faithful converged for the first time, since their defeat at last December polls.
Mr. Jatta said his party has earned itself a legacy that no amount of blackmail by any person or authority, can shade off.
The APRC party leader said they will never deceive people to win back their hearts in order to win elections, but will come with clear policies to continue their legacy. He cited many developments that was brought by his party during the last 22 years such as schools, hospital and roads, among the many achievements realised by the country. He threw spat at the Gambia Radio and Television Services (GRTS), saying this was brought by them but are now deprived access to the development they brought in this country, to the extent that GRTS failed to come to the rally, despite being notified.
Mr. Jatta challenged the Coalition Government by making comparison to the development realised by former President Jawara’s Government who ruled for 30 years and that of former President Jammeh; that the country realised far more development in the past 22 years than at any time in her history. “The APRC Government has made electricity available to rural Gambia,” he said.
He said Phase One of the rural electrification project was completed and Phase Two would have reach those areas that were not completed in Phase One of the project. He challenged them to stabilise the electricity sector and reduce the cost of basic commodities in the market as promised during their campaign to win the hearts of the people.
Mr. Jatta pointed out some of the failures of the Coalition Government which includes payment of tuition fees at the Gambia College, unprecedented power outages, lack of adequate water supply, increased hardship in the living conditions of the people and so many matters.
He said the new ferry that arrived recently, is their project and also the 50,000 dollars conference hall that they want to build with the assistance of the Chinese Government, is part of the projects that Jammeh would have completed and not the Barrow administration. He challenged Government to support the fishing sector and promote the welfare of the back-way returnees, who are faced with a lot of challenges in their own country.
Mr. Jatta however refuted claims that the former Government led by his party was engaged in the mismanagement of funds; that this has never been the case with the former APRC Government and that this is a mere accusation that the coalition Government uses to distract the attention of the people. He supported his argument that APRC party currently has no single vehicle and that the party’s account has been frozen by the Commission of Inquiry.
He said his party has been marginalised by the Barrow Government and have not been treated fairly as others; that members of his party are subject to arrests, and a curfew was recently imposed in Kanilai; that they are attacked by supporters of other parties and their assets have been frozen by a Commission, without reason. Mr. Jatta decried the ill-treatment meted on them and said no amount of pressure can suppress the APRC party.
Mr. Jatta revealed that some of his party militants were attacked by some people who threw projectiles at them and some individuals mostly women, sustained severe injuries and were rushed to hospital; that this sort of behaviour was never the case during their party’s 22 years rule.
Mr. Jatta said the media still focuses on former President Jammeh and the APRC party, saying the reason is that they do not have anything to write about. He challenged his party supporters to remain disciplined as they are currently, and wait for the next presidential elections to vote and bring back the party at the helm for them to continue from where they have left.
Mr. Seedy Njie, the party’s spokesperson said there is too much talk in town about their party and individuals of the party; that this is all geared to distort the truth in their attempt to tarnish the legacy and reputation of the APRC party; that the party believes in the true principles of democracy and this was why when they took over Government in 1994 and when they lost at the polls last December, no single soul was lost. He said the former president has so much love for the country that he did not allow bloodshed during the political impasse.
“Our government did not compromise the peace and tranquillity of the country because we will not allow what we have worked for 22 years, to be vandalised” he said.
He called on Government to note that the frozen APRC account is the contribution of the NAMs of the party as well as some strong party supporters like him; that when they were paid salaries at the National Assembly, they contribute part of it to the party’s account.
He challenged the Human Rights group to stop tarnishing the name and reputation of former President Jammeh and continue with their campaign for the arrest and prosecution of George W. Bush, Tony Blair and many other world leaders, who have committed crimes against humanity.
He told those present at the rally that they have the right to wear the APRC party ‘T’-shirts and move about because they have the right as citizens.
The Lord Mayor of KMC and the Party’s National Mobilizer Yankuba Colley, said no amount of blackmail will stop Gambians from loving the APRC party because of the achievement they have registered in the history of the country. He said Gambians unlike the current Government, used to enjoy stable electricity and water supply as well as the free flow of business. Mayor Colley made similar remarks just like those who spoke before him and thanked the people for their turn out.
The APRC militants were in their green attires and singing and praising their party. Most of them chanted in Mandinka: ‘Aye Ji’ meaning let him come down or resign.