By Omar Bah
Former president Yahya Jammeh has decreed that his party, the APRC, will not go into an alliance with any political party “whose hands are not clean”.
During a recent phone conversation with APRC deputy leader, Ousman ‘Rambo’ Jatta, Friday evening, Jammeh speaking from his exile base in Equatorial Guinea said the former ruling party is still the “majority” party and does not need an alliance with anybody whose “hands are not clean, in fact we don’t need an alliance with any party. We are discipline and we cannot bring disruptive people in our midst”.
He said “God-fearing Gambians” are still with the APRC and that he was confident that the party’s fortunes will rebound in a “comeback.”
“All we need are clean, honest and genuine Gambians and God-fearing, and people who want peace and want Gambia to move forward,” he said.
The exiled leader said no one can stop him from returning to The Gambia.
“I am coming back. Some people say that they drove me out. Apart from Allah, nobody can take me out of The Gambia. I am on leave. I will return to The Gambia whenever I want. I have been on leave. It is only The Almighty Who can say that only Yahya Jammeh’s dead body would come to The Gambia,” he posited.
Jammeh said he left the country on his own accord, following an agreement he reached with the Ecowas, the African Union, the European Union, and The Gambia Government.
The APRC is planning a public demonstration to call on the government and these organisations to adhere to their commitment to ensure Jammeh could return to The Gambia. According to the terms of the January 2017 agreement, Jammeh could return to The Gambia “at a time of his choosing”.
He admonished: “With regard to your planned protest march to ask the government, the AU, Ecowas and the UN to respect the agreement they had with me, I am calling on you to protest in peace. Do not destroy any property. Protest in peace. The agreement must be implemented. Let me also warn those who may want to infiltrate you to cause problems. If you are a troublemaker, do not join us. We do not need troublemakers in that protest,” he said.
Jammeh said despite The Gambia’s obsession with the “Never Again” campaign, the current administration has failed to cure sick Gambians.
Comparing the mortality records of his government and those of Barrow’s, he said Gambians are now dying like rats.
“I hear stories of Never Again, but in my time, I am not saying many were not dying in the hospital, [but] there was enough medicine. Senegalese used to come to The Gambia for treatment… our health system was the best and the cheapest. Now even pregnant women whose husbands can afford it had to go to Senegal to have a safe delivery. People are dying. Now going to the hospitals – apart from the Banjul hospital – is a death sentence,” he alleged.
He continued: “It is going to end. And Gambians would forget this one day. This is just a period of Allah saying to us that when we deviate and abandon our religion and when you have religious leaders being afraid of telling the truth and they are brave to tell lies, this is what happens; a country of insults, human sacrifice, people dying like frogs.”
“When I was there, even frogs were safe. I am not bragging. I am telling the truth. That was why I put lights everywhere. Frogs could cross the highway and they would not be hit. When I was there, how many times did you see a cat being killed by a vehicle? Now people are dying worse than rats. May The Almighty Allah cleanse The Gambia thoroughly, get rid of all evil intentions. Let the Almighty Allah cleanse our hearts thoroughly so that we love each other, support each other, protect each other and work for each other for the development of the country, for the benefit of all,” Jammeh added.
Jammeh also condemned tribalism and said “anybody who wants to bring tribalism into APRC [should be] expel[led]. As a Muslim, I don’t have a tribal issue with anybody, I have issues with bad, evil and satanic people. I cannot be tribalist because if I do, I will go against the will of Allah. Do you think I want to go to hell? I want to go to heaven,” he added.
Meanwhile the Gambia Government spokesman Ebrima Sankareh has reacted to the former president’s comments.
In a BBC interview, Sankareh said: “From what we can glean from the tape you can see a man who is actually suffering from nostalgia. That has been a malice that beset must exilees. For us who have been in exile for the past years are familiar with that situation.
Certainly, a man who for 22 years welded enormous power in this country to be consigned to certain place in Equatorial Guinea, a country where none of the Gambian languages is spoken, you can imagine the nightmare of that kind of consignment. So, he is really homesick as it is very evident in the tape that he wants to come back. What is absurd though is that a man who has been exiled is actually somehow in violation of the rules of exile for a former head state.
“He is inciting trouble. He is asking actually and readying his people to go on the streets to claim for his return to The Gambia. Well he is a Gambian. However, it must be noted he was no ordinary citizen because this is a guy who ruled this country for two decades. He consistently referenced an accord that he claimed was signed between him and some foreign governments and the Gambia government as well. Well President Barrow has never signed an accord or agreement with Jammeh, seen one or ever shown one. It appears all his hopes really are vested in this document, imaginary as it were and as far as President Barrow is concerned, he doesn’t know what document this man is talking about. However, if he insists to come to this country without permission from the Gambia government he is doing so on his own volition and the Gambia government cannot guarantee as of now, President Jammeh’s safety and security where he is to return forcefully as he claims.”