By Lamin Cham
The transitional leader of the former ruling Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction Fabakary Tombong Jatta has disclosed that the party is currently working hard on plans to hold a national congress to pave the future of the party including its leadership matters.
The APRC lost its long term leader Yahya Jammeh in January when he had to go into exile to pave for the new government of President Adama Barrow to take office.
Speaking to The Standard Friday, Mr Jatta, a onetime majority leader in the National Assembly said he and his committee have been called upon to fill the leadership gap on temporary basis.
“The first thing that must be clear is that the APRC is a party that has been registered to provide services for the people on permanent basis and not temporarily. The party is here to stay and even if President Jammeh had not gone in this manner he would still go at some point to give way to another person and so on and so forth,” he said.
He added that the second point is that after Jammeh’s departure and those of others, created a vacuum in the leadership and that’s why people like him and other true believers of the party and committed to its survival came together to provide a temporary leadership pending a national congress. ”We are currently preparing, including raising funds to hold a congress where the future of the party, its leader, manifesto and all aspects will be looked at ,” Mr Jatta said.
Asked whether he is satisfied with the performance of the party in the just ended legislative election, Mr Jatta said for party that used to control 90 percent of the assembly the results were far from desirable. ”But I am satisfied with what we have got given the circumstances we are facing. We are faced with hostility and harassment. Our opponents led a misinformation campaign against us telling people that the APRC is banned and that it was dangerous for one to be associated with it. Also, the new government seized all our vehicles,” he complained.
Asked if those vehicles are not state properties in the first place Mr Jatta said that cannot be entirely true. “Some of those vehicles were donated. They were all taken by the government and ironically the government parties have each been provided with brand new vehicles. If a government that is only three months can afford a fleet of vehicles what about a party that has been in power for twenty years or more,” he queried.
Mr Jatta added that the APRC is going to be an opposition with a difference in the Gambia. “We will show to Gambians what a true opposition is. We shall be the eyes of the people, work with government when it is right and criticize it when it is wrong,” he said.
Asked about his own future role in the party, Jatta said he has since three years ago declared that after 20 years in politics, he was going to quit. ”I had said this and even we had won the election, I would still have left. I am only faced with this emergency situation to fill a gap but I have already said I am done with politics,” he concluded.