By Mafugi Ceesay
Seedy Njie, a one-time information minister of the Jammeh regime, has responded to comments made by Sheriff Kijera, the chairperson of the victims centre.
Mr Kijera had told this medium that if President Barrow forms an alliance with APRC, it would be a betrayal to the Jammeh victims.
However, speaking to The Standard yesterday, Njie said there is nothing wrong with the NPP forming an alliance with the former ruling party because they are both legitimately registered political parties.
Njie said even at the TRRC, there hasn’t been any adverse mention against the current APRC leadership.
“The testimonies were mainly about the junglers and other rogue security elements said to have perpetrated or committed crimes but none of the witnesses ever mentioned an executive member of the APRC.
“So APRC has never been an outlawed entity as it is legally registered, run by persons with the highest integrity who, to the knowledge of the public, have never committed any crime in this country, be it human rights or financial crimes. Gambians who are supporting the APRC have the right to belong or associate with any political party of their choice. That is a constitutional guarantee,” he added.
Njie also said it will be unfair for anyone to brand the APRC as a subversive or outlawed political entity, adding that even at the Janneh Commission, none of the current crop of APRC politicians had their names called.“This is enough justification that they are genuine people and I think people like Kijera should thank President Barrow for taking the bold step to establish the TRRC,” Njie noted.
He further asked: “Why is it that people like Sheriff Kijera are not talking about the former members of the APRC government who are alleged to have committed crimes and now with the UDP? Why is he always mentioning Barrow and not other parties? We all know the APRC supporters following Barrow are very clean and genuine. Why do we like to make noise out of nothing?”.
Njie also argued that the NPP, like any other legally constituted political party, reserves the right to enter into any negotiation with any legally registered political party like APRC and others, for the common goal of delivering services to Gambians. “President Barrow places a high premium on respect for fundamental human rights, rule of law, democracy and good governance founded on the principles of due process. It is unethical for Kijera to hide behind the cloud of activism to make political statements,” Njie said.
He said Kijera should be placed in his rightful position. “You cannot play double standards. You cannot be in a political party and at the same time engage in activism, masquerading yourself as a human rights defender.”
Njie, who is now a supporter of President Barrow, said the president “will never betray the cause of the Gambian people.”
He said the Gambian leader had promised that he would conduct himself over these matters as dictated by the TRRC Act. “He will ensure whatever is recommended by the TRRC, be it compensation, prosecution of perpetrators and reconciliation, is done.
“I think Sheriff Kijera should tell Gambians where he belongs politically. It is evident that once the NPP and APRC form an alliance, that is a straightforward victory. If he, who I suspect belongs to another political grouping, does not wish that to happen it is better quits go his activism and be a full-time politician,” he said.