By Alagie Manneh
The opposition Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction, APRC, who lost power in December election, staged the biggest gathering since the departure of leader and former President Yahya Jammeh. The gathering took the form of a victory celebration and national conference at Kanilai, the native village of Mr Jammeh. The gathering celebrated the 5 seats in the national assembly before getting down to conference where key matters facing the party were tabled among them, plans for a major reform of the party.
The Interim Party leader and former National Assembly Majority leader, Fabakary Tombong Jatta, congratulated the party militants for their loyalty and faithfulness to the party and its policies. Mr Jatta paid tribute to APRC’s developmental achievements in the past 22 years, which he said Gambians will always be grateful for.
He said whether former President Jammeh comes or not the direction he showed and paved will be the only way they will continue to follow.
He observed that after the former leader’s exile, there is a need to get everybody together to focus on the future. “So that is why we want to meet people, get their ideas, how are the political structures, and what are their suggestions for the way forward, so that when we prepare our road map it will capture the thoughts of these people,” FTJ said.
Musa Amul Nyassi, the NAM for Foni Kansala said the gathering is to show all and sundry, including critics of the party critics APRC is here to stay.
“We have been yearning for this convergence and we thank Allah for availing us the opportunity to come up with such a convergence. This conference is all about charting the way forward for the party,” he said
Hon. Nyassi also strongly stated that the APRC is much stronger today than it ever was. “We have no regrets. We are not frustrated. We will stand firm and we will regroup as we are committed and determine to stay focused to see how we can come back into government, come the next presidential election,” Nyassi said.
On whether the party is not being distracted by the constant emergence of allegations against Jammeh, Hon. Nyassi said: “Whatever is being said against the former president is not distracting us; if anything it is helping us to better prepare ourselves. Our electorates are mentally prepared to face the challenges of all the allegations being said against the former President”.
Ansu Badjie, an APRC supporter, said the meeting in Kanilai is very important for the morale of the militants. “Since the departure of His Excellency Sheikh Professor Yahya AJJ Jammeh, we have not had any gathering like this. But today we are here to refresh our minds on what had happened and to show our solidarity with His Excellency Yahya Jammeh.”
Asked if he still supports Jammeh, Mr Badjie said: “Yes, even though he is not in power, I still support him to the maximum. The APRC has not collapsed and will never collapse”.
The gathering was attended by senior party politicians Ousman Rambo Jatta and Seedy SK Njie.