Omar Jallow, alias OJ, told The Standard: “Tombong Jatta’s argument shows the premature view they [APRC] have of the opposition and the inter-party dialogue. If we are just meeting to raise our various concerns on how to forge a better way forward, how can the opposition want to destroy the APRC, as was claimed by Tombong Jatta? How can we not protest when we, as opposition with equal rights to those in the ruling party, are being treated unfairly?
“We have never refused to recognise the achievements of the APRC as was claimed by Tombong. In fact, how can he even relate the inter-party dialogue to attending state functions? They have never invited me to any of the state functions. Does he want me to just drive my car and attend state functions like that when it is all politicised like that? We are not here to beg for respect or be given our rights, our rights must be respected and our presence recognised and appreciated.”
The PPP leader continued: “It was the APRC that flouted the agreement in the first place because they still refuse to rectify the anomalies that exist in the electoral laws and the conduct of the entire electoral process. These are all the things we have highlighted in the protest letter that we gave to the Independent Electoral Commission and were a serious point of discourse during the inter-party dialogue.
“We’ve highlighted the uneven political playing field and called for reform. Some of the points we raised were to make the GRTS available to all, regardless of one’s political standings, relaxation of the issue of requesting permit from the police, the unlawful involvement of government officials in party politics. We also stated that the army and the police should not be partisan because these are important state institutions that must not have political affiliations.
“When we were raising all these points, even the administrative secretary representing the APRC was there and didn’t say anything because they are legitimate points. The IEC promised to do something about these concerns that we have raised, but they have failed and then we told them that because of these anomalies, we also can’t go into elections because the process has severe flaws. We have never even boycotted the elections, we were pushed out. In fact, these concerns that we have raised are consistent with the advices from commonwealth.”]]>