By Omar Bah
The APRC deputy leader, Ousman ‘Rambo’ Jatta, has warned the Independent Electoral Commission against rigging the December presidential election. Addressing party congress delegates on Saturday, Jatta accused the IEC of skewing the results of the 2016 presidential election in favour of Adama Barrow.
The IEC caused panic in the country in 2016 after it revised the results, when it emerged that the ballots for one area were added incorrectly, swelling Barrow’s vote. This purportedly prompted President Jammeh to reject the result a week after admitting defeat.
But speaking at the APRC congress, Jatta stressed: “We have already seen paragons [sic] from the IEC in the presidential election of 2016 where there was illegal interference with the election process by increasing the vote share of a favoured candidate. It was such successful electoral fraud and deliberate manipulation that had the effect of a first civilian coup d’état in The Gambia.
“We will never tolerate that kind of ridiculous bloopers by the IEC under the tutelage [sic] of Chairman Alieu Momar Njai, in connivance with Ecowas, AU, UN, EU, Senegal and opposition parties who have robbed APRC of its victory,” he said.
Hundreds of APRC supporters dressed in the party’s green colour Saturday gathered at the Paradise Suites in Kololi for the second congress since Jammeh left for exile in 2017.
The party’s seventh congress which was held under the theme; “Remembering Jammeh for unity, renewal and radical social transformation” was dominated by discourse on Jammeh’s legacy and his return.
Delegates at the congress were heard chanting; “Babili Mansa honourable man who gave food to the poor!”
Jammeh has been living in Equatorial Guinea since losing the 2016 presidential polls to Adama Barrow. Last month, rumours about his imminent return were dispelled by the government.
In January 2020, thousands of APRC supporters protested for his right to return from exile. But accounts differ on whether an agreement was in place for him to do so.
Last year, Jammeh was heard in an audio recording insisting that he will return to The Gambia.
In a recording released on social media by the party’s deputy spokesman, Jammeh was heard saying: “I am coming back. They said they drove me out of the country. Apart from Allah, nobody can take me out of The Gambia.”
Addressing delegates at the congress, the APRC leader, Fabakary Tombong Jatta, reiterated that Jammeh’s return will entirely depend on him, saying, “what is clear is that he will come back”.
He hailed the persistent selfless sacrifices of the party’s loyalists who refused to be cowed by “smear campaigns” against the party ant Jammeh.
“There were all sorts of smear campaigns against APRC and Jammeh but thanks to your resilience we were able to surmount all the challenges. They wanted to cripple the party but thanks to your undiluted commitment and loyalty we remain even stronger,” he said.
FTJ said the party has been consistently frustrated by the shooting, arrest and detention of its supporters, freezing of bank accounts and seizure of vehicles by the Janneh Commission.
He also condemned the government’s refusal to acknowledge and implement the terms reflected in a joint communiqué signed between President Jammeh, Ecowas, AU and UN that led to his departure to enable a peaceful transfer of power.
Jatta thanked the Equatoguinean president, Teodoro Obiang and his government for hosting Jammeh and his family.
“Jammeh’s unprecedented achievements in his 22 years in office cannot be ignored. The entire APRC membership appreciates him for his selfless efforts in positively impacting the lives of thousands Gambians,” he said, to a rapturous applause from the delegates.
At the end of the three-day congress, the party returned the following executive members to their positions: Interim party leader – Fabakary Tombong Jatta, First deputy leader – Ousman Rambo Jatta, Second deputy leader – Borry Colley, National mobiliser – Yankuba Colley, Deputy mobiliser – Sainey Badjie, First Administrative secretary – Pa Amadou Suso, Second administrative secretary – Modou Lamin Badjie, Treasurer – Sainey Mbye, Deputy treasurer – Karamo Colley, Spokesperson – Amul Nyassi, Deputy spokesperson – Dodou Jah, Coordinator general – Bakary Jaiteh alias Bakso, Women mobiliser -Isatou Jiffanga Jarju, First deputy women mobiliser – Aji Mberry Sowe, Second deputy women mobiliser – Aji Mariam Ceesay-Sawaneh, National youth mobiliser Abdou Jarju, and Deputy youth mobiliser Pa Matarr Ndow.