By Omar Bah
With about seven months to the December presidential election, a UK-based medical doctor Dr Ebrima Jagne who was recently elected leader of the All People’s Party, yesterday returned to the country to begin preparations for the polls.
Dr. Jagne, known to be personate about fighting corruption, has on a number of occasions attacked the Barrow administration for not doing much in fighting graft. He renewed those criticisms shortly after arriving at the airport.
“These are trying times and actually, we are going backward. We have a president who doesn’t tell us what is going on in the country; the security is in disarray – you name it. This government was supposed to be creating a new dispensation with objectives and measures that were to be recognized. But guess what, the 3-year transition promised was conveniently turned to five years but many other factors were negated including the desire of the country for a new constitution,” he said.
Dr Jagne contended that holding elections with the 1997 constitution is tragic because that constitution was changed over 50 times to favour a dictator and ‘we cannot go with that constitution’.
“We spent D116 million to draft a new constitution which should not have happened in the first place because we could have just amended the 1997 one,” Dr Jagne argued.
He said the APP will be a political party with a difference embracing all tribes. “The party was formed by a group of Gambians who are concerned about the challenges in this country,” he said, adding that leadership is a challenge and the country must get away from politics of lying.
“We have to be honest with the Gambian people and stop the culture of deception and cheating in The Gambia, especially in government,” he said.
The APP leader alleged that in today’s Gambia, the first thing government officials look for when starting a project at the ministry level is how they can have money in their pockets. “This is how it has been like since Jawara’s time. APP has come with a unique leadership comprising people who are not greedy or corrupt but ones who are self-sufficient,” he said.
The APP leader also registered his disappointment over the Independent Electoral Commission’s “lack of concrete plan for the registration of Gambian Diaspora” whom he said have pumped D28 billion to the Gambian economy last year alone. The IEC of course has repeatedly stated that they have put in place every mechanism in their mandate to register the diaspora voters and are only waiting for the right legislation to do their work.
Dr Jagne was welcomed by a jubilant crowd led by APP founder, Gumbo Touray, National Mobiliser – Ali Yatta Touray, Treasurer – Ebou Gaye, National Youth Mobiliser – Biran Sey, Deputy National Mobiliser – Saidina Kebbeh, Deputy Youth Mobiliser – Alpha Jallow and veteran politician – Alh Babou Jeng.
“The welcome was superb, organised and befitting. Thanks to all those who were able to come. On behalf of the party, I congratulate the party leader for his arrival and thank all supporters,” the APP national president and founder, Gumbo Touray told The Standard yesterday.