By Omar Bah
The faction of the APRC loyal to former president Yahya Jammeh has written to the Independent Electoral Commission asking it to recognise and address issues dealing with the APRC as a party with two rival factions.
Revealing this to The Standard yesterday, the spokesman of the group Pa Modou Mbowe said the electoral body has dealt with similar issues in the PPP and the NCP who were advised to do a congress as one party when rival factions emerged within their ranks.
“So, we have written to them to take similar steps to address the APRC rivalry when it comes to the areas that concern them. This is important because since last year the APRC has been hit by a row which led to its breakaway when Fabakary Tombong Jatta-led APRC decided to change Yahya Jammeh’s chairmanship and flag bearer of the APRC party and went into an alliance with NPP without due process, knowing full well that this is tantamount to infringement of the APRC constitution article 27 (m) as decided by the last three congresses,” Mbowe said, quoting their letter to the IEC.
He further argued that they have told the IEC that their faction is the official and legitimate APRC registered with the IEC as earlier on communicated by national chairman and party leader Yahya Jammeh on the 15th October, 2021 relieving the FTJ executive and replacing it with Yaya Tamba executive.
However, according to Pa Modou Mbowe, they have not received any response from the IEC.
“We want to make it clear that if we are not allowed to go for congress as APRC, it will not be legitimate for the other faction led by Fabakary to hold congress. It is now left to the IEC to decide on what they want to do but our stance is very clear on this,” he said.
Mbowe argued that the IEC Chief Election Officer Samboujang Njie was at the APRC 2018 congress where Jammeh was selected as flagbearer and supreme leader.
“So, Fabakary and his team refused to listen to Jammeh because they wanted to go into this alliance with the NPP and we have all seen the results. They have no interest whatsoever to rebrand the APRC,” he said.
He said former president Jammeh is empowered by the APRC constitution to hire and fire any executive member just like the Gambian Constitution empowers the president to appoint and fire ministers.
“We believe the IEC should be independent and demonstrate transparency in this matter to maintain their credibility. We have seen similar situation with the PPP and NCP and the IEC mediated to sort the issues out but their recent manifestation regarding this matter is worrying and shows their lack of credibility,” Mbowe said.
When contacted for comments, the IEC chairman Alieu Momarr Njai said he cannot remember receiving such letter from the Jammeh APRC faction but promises to make a follow up today.