By Omar Bah
The former ruling APRC party announced on Saturday that it has agreed to form an alliance with President Barrow’s National People’s Party, NPP, for the December 4th presidential election after party founder and ex-president Yahya Jammeh gave approval.
APRC leader Fabakary Tombong Jatta made the announcement at a news conference at Coco Ocean Hotel attended by NPP and APRC rank and file members.
“I am glad to inform you that the MoU agreement between the APRC and the NPP was signed on the 2nd of September,” FTJ said.
He said a key condition for the alliance is allowing former president Jammeh to return to The Gambia and that the condition will come into effect when President Barrow wins re-election.
“It is part of the MoU that the light of the country and the beacon of hope for this country, Yahya Jammeh, should be accorded the opportunity to come back to this country,” he emphasised.
Jatta said Jammeh was consulted about the talks and had given his blessings to the proposal for the alliance.
“Whatever we are doing, former president Jammeh is aware of it,” he said.
Jatta thanked President Adama Barrow and assured him that the APRC will not betray the agreement. “The APRC does not betray trust. We are convinced that the two sides coming together is for the greater good of The Gambia and it will help ease reconciliation. We agreed in the MoU that all APRC sympathisers will vote for President Barrow and that if we win, we will be part of the government at all levels,” FTJ said.
The announcement generated mixed reactions.
Economist and political analyst Nyang Njie said: “I am saddened by this arrangement. Gambians should not take this merger lightly as it has the tendencies to roll back the gains we made by pardoning perpetrators of heinous crimes against undeserving Gambians.
“The realignment of the Gambian political landscape is coming full circle. APRC/NPP can be considered an unholy alliance considering the ideals we all fought for in 2016. It may be a great day for President Barrow but it is a sad and sombre day for all those who gallantly fought to liberate our dearly beloved Gambia. Barrow has sold his conscience for the sake of perpetuation. I cry for my beloved Gambia.”
Former journalist and civil society activist Madi Jobarteh announced he will proceed on a one-man protest today over the alliance. “I will dress in white all throughout Monday to tell President Barrow that I vehemently condemn his alliance with the party of tyranny! That I stand with and for The Gambia…” Jobarteh wrote.
Rtd Lt Col Lamin Gano who operates a private security business welcomed the news of the alliance saying “it can only [lead to] a landslide victory”.
“Lest we forget, this party [APRC] alone pulled 40% in 2016. Combined that with the power of incumbency and the results can only be a landslide. With a capital C,” Gano enthused.
Former army chief Lang Tombong Tamba, APRC general secretary and minister Bala Garba Juhumpa, former GNA commander and diplomat Samsudeen Sarr, former parliamentarian and ex-UDP executive member Abdoulie ‘Suku’ Singhateh were among former and current distinguished APRC officials spotted at the news conference.