By Omar Bah
An apparent split has developed in the leadership of the former ruling APRC as both interim leader, Fabakary Tombong Jatta and his deputy MA Bah, claim to be the leader of the party.
The public row started after news emerged that the executive of the party has been changed and FTJ and some key members were replaced by Bah and a new team.
What began as a confusion that was later resolved has now degenerated in to a deep crisis with both men trading altercations and counter claims of legitimacy.
In a statement shared with The Standard yesterday, MA Bah said he is still the APRC leader and was appointed by exiled party leader and former President Yahya Jammeh through a phone call to the bureau, maintaining that he was not aware of any changing of that decision.
“My appointment was witnessed by the entire National Executive Committee of the APRC. However, we have learnt of an unconfirmed reinstatement of the executive headed by Hon. Fabakary Tombong Jatta on 2 June but this information was not communicated to us by the former president and the new executive is not aware of this development. This information is not also communicated to me as the new head of the APRC,” Bah said.
He called on all APRC militants and supporters in The Gambia and abroad to close ranks and unite while the party leadership works to resolve the issue.
Meanwhile, the APRC interim leader Fabakary Tombong Jatta has fired back, accusing MA Bah of trying to destabilize the party and staging a coup against the executive.
FTJ also alleged that MA Bah falsely used Jammeh’s name to hastily prop up a new Executive over the weekend.
“MA Bah is not a registered member of the APRC and if he has the APRC’s interest at heart, he wouldn’t have been engaged in divisive politics. What is certain for sure is that the APRC Committee is intact,” he added.
He said what MA Bah said about the former President Yahya Jammeh is a lie.
“There are set of rules and regulations governing the APRC and its executive. Even I myself as interim leader cannot dissolve it. It has to go through a process. There is a clique of people, with dubious intentions, who are out to destabilize the party,” he told Star FM.
He continued: “They are doing this for cheap popularity. We can be in the opposition for twenty years. If anyone thinks that he can come in and write bogus stuff just for personal aggrandizement, to mortgage the party, he must be fooling himself.”
FTJ accused Bah of instigating a coup against the current legitimate Executive of the APRC and warned him to refrain from his divisive politics or risks facing disciplinary action.
“The APRC is not a one-man show party; people are consulted. I am talking between me, and God. If I and Bah were presented before Jammeh, Jammeh will take me. If their so-called Executive and that of ours are presented before Jammeh, Jammeh will take ours.
If you place me, on any plate, I am heavier. I don’t want to talk about myself; morally I am clean as I don’t play double standards. Capacity wise, he cannot challenge me. He is morally bankrupt. I have done a lot of things with him. I am different from him,” Jatta stressed.
FTJ added: “He can come back. He is still where he is, but he cannot continue to destabilize the party; otherwise disciplinary action will be taken against him. The party is governed by laws,” he added.
Mr. Jatta also confirmed that he spoke with Jammeh over the weekend over MA Bah’s proclamation of running a new APRC Executive. He wouldn’t disclose the issues he discussed with Jammeh, but he maintained that Jammeh unequivocally refuted MA Bah’s claims.
Mr. Jatta also downplayed Seedy Njie’s statement that he is 100 percent behind President Barrow. Jatta said Seedy is still part of the APRC, and that Seedy’s statement should not be misconstrued as if he has resigned from the APRC.