By Omar Bah
The Gambia Democratic Congress has said the controversial comments made by former president Yahya Jammeh at its Buffer Zone rally were misinterpreted.
Addressing his supporters over the phone at a joint GDC-APRC No To Coalition rally last week, Jammeh renewed his attack on his nemesis and longtime opposition United Democratic Party, calling it the biggest tribalist party of Africa. Since his comments, the opposition GDC has come under serious criticism for giving Jammeh the platform to make such outrageous comments.
But reacting to the criticism, the GDC deputy party leader, Amadou Kah, said: “Jammeh’s comments were misinterpreted. His intention was to speak against tribal politics in the strongest terms possible but if anyone feels offended about his comments, we apologise sincerely because the GDC is a very decent and disciplined political party.
“The GDC or its leader has never been found wanting of being tribal or orchestrating tribalism. I think what happened is that Jammeh’s comments were unfairly misinterpreted especially by the media who unnecessarily made a lot out of it,” Kah said.
He said the GDC went into the alliance with Jammeh’s sanctioned APRC splinter group in good faith.
“We all know the history between the UDP and APRC and Jammeh’s comments were directed at the UDP and because Jammeh was speaking doesn’t mean we condone attacks against the party. We have a very good relationship with all the parties in this country,” he said.
Mr Kah has urged the media to be “very careful of the way and manner they handle issues of political parties leading to the presidential election”.
He said he couldn’t understand why the media refused to report Jammeh’s condemnation of tribalism but focused only on the negative side of things. “Also, we are concerned about media houses going into business contracts with political parties. We are worried that they will compromise their impartiality because the bias has already started and it is very easy for anyone to dictate which side some of our journalists are supporting,” he added.
The GDC national youth president Modou MC Cham, said his party can only appreciate Jammeh’s goodwill in recommending his supporters to back GDC.
“We believe the partnership between the two parties is in the interest of this country and its people. We want to assure Gambians that the GDC’s number priority is to unite this country,” Cham said.