By Lamin Cham
A day after the dramatic announcement by former president Yahya Jammeh of a marriage between his “APRC” and a fringe party called Gambia Alliance for National Unity (Ganu), its leader Sheikh Tijan Hydara has said the synergy of the two parties can transform The Gambia.
Hydara, who served twice as Jammeh’s justice minister said even out of office, Jammeh’s foremost desire is for The Gambia to remain “a united, sovereign and proud nation”.
He explained: “Jammeh wanted a leadership that will keep his tangible development legacies intact and promote similar ones. He feels strongly that the current government has destroyed a lot of things over the four years and therefore not deserving of any support from his party”.
Hydara congratulated the new “APRC” leadership selected by Jammeh describing them as “dedicated and honest people who would not sacrifice their conviction and beliefs for anything”.
“I am very impressed with the composition of the new APRC leadership and I am looking forward to working with them to deliver The Gambia we all desire,” he said.
Asked if he could bring the various factions in the party together, he responded: “The reason many people followed the former executive is because they have not heard from Jammeh but that now he has spoken, they are now clear in their mind. And for those who left for other reasons, well I am open to discussions. All we want is to serve the Gambian people and there are a lot of good, capable and dedicated people in the APRC who know about administration, how to develop and run a development agenda. Any political party would want to have such people with them in its ranks,” he said.
Commenting on the possible backlash of attracting critics of Jammeh to himself and Ganu, Hydara said: “I am very hopeful that The Gambia I know which is full of compassionate, forgiving and considerate people, will one day find the heart to learn to forgive. I am not justifying or defending anything but Gambians must know that the destiny of the country is in our hands and we all have a right to rebuke or have certain values. But Gambians in general are not bitter, arrogant so if you respect them, you will have their understanding.” He noted that even Prophet Muhammad forgave some of his most vicious enemies.
Asked to comment on the APRC-NPP alliance, Hydara said: “I think the action of the former APRC executive to work with Barrow was not a good idea because militants are the most important elements in a party. If they don’t want to go, there is little the executive can do about it.”
Meanwhile, at the end of a full weekend of meetings in the Fonis, Hydara was escorted by a sizeable convoy to his Bijilo home last night.