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IS JAMMEH, FTJ RECONCILIATION IMMINENT?

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By Omar Bah

Cherno Suwareh, the chairman of a self-appointed taskforce that calls itself APRC Reconciliation Committee, has told The Standard his committee is close to reconciling former president Yahya Jammeh and party leader Speaker Fabakary Tombong Jatta.

In October 2021, the APRC’s founder, Yahya Jammeh, controversially dismissed the FTJ executive and replaced it with a new executive after the latter announced an alliance with President Barrow’s NPP. Since then, the two factions have become bitter rivals.

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But speaking in a Standard exclusive yesterday, Suwareh said: “I can assure you that a lot of discussions are going on to ensure that we reconcile FTJ and Jammeh in the soonest possible time. That will happen very soon. There are people running up and down to ensure that the two reconcile because FTJ is Jammeh and Jammeh is FTJ.”

Suwareh who was the APRC coordinator in Libya said the committee has already conducted meetings in Somita, Kansala, and Bondali.

He said Borrie Colley, the first deputy leader of the APRC has attended at least two meetings.

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“The reconciliation is official, and both the Fabakary Tombong Jatta and Yahya Tamba factions are aware of it. When the committee was formed, we sent a delegation led by Imam Chebo Cham and Imam Ceesay to Fabakary Tombong Jatta and Yahya Tamba to inform them about our intentions. We also asked each of the factions to give us two people who will represent them in the committee,” he stated.

He said the APRC nominated Dodou Jah and Musa ‘Amul’ Nyassi, and the No-To-Alliance faction nominated Pa Modou Mbowe and Bai Njaga.

 “We had several discussions with them before we started our community meetings in Foñi,” he said.

He said before they started the community outreach in Foñi, they sought and got approval from the Inspector General of Police, the governor of the West Coast Region, seyfolu in Foñi, and wrote to Jammeh.

“All the chiefs wrote back to us to give us assurance that they would support the process. We also held a meeting with them [chiefs] and the governor of West Coast Region at the Governor’s Office in Brikama to further discuss our plan and motive,” he added.

He said his committee is not acting under the aegis of any faction and that they appointed themselves as peace-brokers to address the divisions in the APRC and in Foñi.

“The idea is to stop the hostilities between the people of Foñi and Gambians in general. It is our position that governments will come and go, but The Gambia is here to stay. During our meetings, we made it very clear that the group is apolitical…” he said.

In the latest meeting in Bondali over the weekend, a senior member of the Foñi community, Famara Tamba, informed the meeting that former President Jammeh has given approval for the FTJ faction to reconcile with the No-To-Alliance faction and that Jammeh has also promised to call FTJ.

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Sunkary Badjie, a former National Assembly Member for Foñi Berefet, confirmed that Jammeh did speak to them at a recent meeting and that a task force for reconciliation is already up and running.

“I am the desk officer for the taskforce of the FTJ faction for West Coast and we have already been in engagement… We have had a few meetings and as far as things stand now, it looks like there are no longer two factions but one APRC,” Badjie said.

He concluded that once all the issues dealing with the reconciliation process are covered, there will be a grand reunification rally at the Buffer Zone park, Tallinding.

However, the APRC deputy spokesperson, Dodou Jah, told The Standard that the APRC has not approved the activities of the party and has not attended any of their meetings.

“Yes, it is true that Borrie Colley has attended some of their meetings, but that was in his personal capacity, and the APRC executive has not given anyone the green light to negotiate on its behalf,” he clarified.

Jah said it is true that he and Amul are in a WhatsApp group created by the committee, but they have not been actively participating in the discussions.

Meanwhile, a senior executive member of the No-To-Alliance faction, Jerrending Sanyang, told The Standard: “We were not engaged in the dialogue… I remember when they were about to start, they brought cola nuts to us to inform us about their plans, but since then they have not engaged us. I cannot tell you they are not mediating, but I can assure you that there is no dialogue between the No-To-Alliance and the Fabakary Tombong Jatta faction.”

He said his faction will only go into dialogue with the FTJ faction if the FTJ faction returns the APRC to them [No-To-Alliance].

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