By Madi Jobarteh
After 22 years of misrule, the evidence of the carnage and plunder of Yahya Jammeh and APRC exposes itself every day, which shall continue till eternity because their victims and effects of their atrocities shall continue to exist forever.
The sole beneficiary of the atrocities and plunder of public wealth has been none other than Yahya Jammeh himself and his party. When Yahya Jammeh steals public money it benefits himself and his party to stay longer in power. When Yahya Jammeh ordered the killing of opponents, it serves him and APRC to stay in power. Thus APRC is a direct beneficiary of the misrule, plunder and atrocities of Yahya Jammeh.
We now know that a large number of our citizens lost their lives in mysterious circumstances during the APRC reign. The recent indictments of tens of soldiers for murder clearly indicates that indeed Yahya Jammeh and the APRC had presided over the most brutal destruction of uncountable number of Gambian lives through strangulation, suffocation, beheading, shooting and hacking.
They then went further to conceal dead bodies in bushes and forests, thrown into wells and crocodile ponds among other ungodly places in and around Kanilai, Foni and Kombo. The exhumation of dead bodies attests to the grisly conduct of this undesirable regime.
Yet the APRC, which formed the government, failed to ensure justice and protection of the rights of Gambians. As a party, they enjoyed their dominance on the misery and disempowerment of Gambians.
From 11 November 1994 when AFPRC began its reign of bloodshed by summarily executing tens of our soldiers, we saw how this criminal military junta metamorphosed into the APRC as a political party to continue the same bloodshed. The most tragic part of that history is when you have Gambian civilians embrace this party to provide it the necessary power base and legitimacy to perpetuate murder and pillage in our country. Hence from 1997, the leading violator of The Gambia had been the APRC With their control over the legislature and local government structures, this party had provided the perfect cover and support for Yaya Jammeh to destroy the Gambia.
APRC failed to not only stand up for the Gambia, but went further to legitimize and legalise the misconduct and violations of Yahya Jammeh with much fuel and fire. The legacy of APRC therefore is maiming and murder of Gambians and the plunder of public wealth.
This evidence can be traced to the several concocted coups from 1997 to 2000 during which Yahya Jammeh eliminated perceived and real opponents only to see the APRC as a party and lawmakers rally around this despot to validate his atrocities.
The most tragic event came in the Year 2000 when on April 10 and 11, he ordered Gambian soldiers to open fire on innocent and defenceless schoolchildren. The response of the APRC lawmakers was to merely pass an indemnity act to protect the killers. Even when a commission of enquiry was conducted which had identified the perpetrators yet the APRC decided to ignore and forget.
Since April 2000, series of atrocities continued in this country such as on 16 December 2004 when a veteran journalist Deyda Hydara was shot dead. This was followed by the summary execution of Daba Marenah and four other soldiers on 4 April 2006. On 23 August 2012 the regime illegally executed nine prisoners in Mile 2 Prisons without following the rule of law.
On 30 December 2014, Gambian freedom fighters were captured alive and summarily butchered to death. On 14 April 2016 scores of peaceful protestors led by Solo Sandeng were violently arrested and subjected to the most severe torture and rape leading to the immediate killing of Sandeng. Since then many more protestors have succumbed to the severe tortures such as Solo Koroma, Lang Marong and Ebrima Ceesay.
Today, thanks to the Barrow Administration Gambians also know the source of Yaya Jammeh’s ‘Allah’s Bank’. After all the open secret is that this ungodly son of the land has in his name 131 landed properties, 86 bank accounts and 14 companies.
He had also directly taken out of SSHFC the amount of D189 million as well as US$50 million from the International Gateway Project Account. Under the watch of the ruling APRC, Yahya Jammeh had opened special accounts while he continued to use public enterprises such as Gamtel, Gambia Ports Authority as well as Nawec to bleed the country of its hard earned money.
As if this was not enough, Yaya Jammeh went further to directly interfere with business entities to the point of causing the country to lose millions of dalasi in lawsuits. The cases of Alimenta, Carnegie Minerals and CONAPRO are all clear examples of abuse and impunity for which the Gambian people were forced to pay bitterly for the mess of one citizen! Yet APRC kept mute but benefiting!
The fact that Yahya Jammeh as a single person can acquire so much properties, bank accounts and companies in The Gambia alone and not to mention his overseas concerns clearly shows that APRC was indeed a serious liability for Gambians.
Therefore until now I had held the view that the APRC party should not be banned in The Gambia but today I wish to change my position to demand that APRC be banned in The Gambia from henceforth. This is because the APRC had been the container in which Yaya Jammeh delivered his venom on Gambians. APRC as a party gave Yahya Jammeh a cover and a conveyor to kill and defraud The Gambia and Gambians.
APRC cannot be separated from Yahya Jammeh and his atrocities because APRC is the political powerbase of the government of Yahya Jammeh. In a democracy, presidents or prime ministers are elected on the basis of a party or as independents. In our case Yahya Jammeh was elected on the APRC ticket. It was APRC that formed the majority of the members of the National Assembly.
Hence whatever Yahya Jammeh was able to do, it was directly possible because of his power base, the APRC. Hence if Yahya Jammeh is exiled, he certainly must go with APRC as his coat.
Until today, the Nazi party has not been officially banned in Germany. But Nazi symbols, flags, ideology, offices and materials have been completely closed, banned and criminalised. No one in Germany can promote in any way anything associated with the Nazi party.
Thus effectively the party is banned even if by law there was no specific court order banning the party. Germany banned all elements of the party because of the intolerable atrocities, plunder and destruction that Hitler and his band of criminals caused Germany.
The APRC does not certainly match the scale of atrocity of the Nazi party, but in our history, The Gambia has never seen such carnage led by a political party. For that matter, the APRC deserves to be banned in The Gambia just like Yaya Jammeh.
The APRC is a party of shame, destruction and murder. We had Yahya Jammeh because there was AFPRC and then APRC. We experienced atrocities because of APRC. We are defrauded because of APRC. The APRC as the dominant party in parliament failed as a legal and official entity tasked with a constitutional mandate to protect the supreme interests of the nation.
The APRC has a constitutional obligation to abide by the Constitution of The Gambia yet it chose to ignore and at the same time went against that Constitution. It chose to damage the sovereignty and national security of The Gambia. It chose to put the name and dignity of The Gambia into disrepute and ridicule worldwide. APRC like any other party or citizen has no choice or right to impose a religious state on The Gambia, or to disregard the rule of law or to aid and abet tyranny in The Gambia.
Yet this was exactly what APRC decided to do willfully in The Gambia. Why therefore should APRC survive? Any person who commits these crimes will face the law hence any group of people who constitute themselves into any entity, more so a political party will be liable for the same penalty if they commit the same crime.
Keeping the APRC in the Gambian society means digging our wounds everyday as APRC represents the wounds of Gambians. Allowing APRC to continue to exist means we have exonerated it from its failures, complicity and direct participation in the abuse of human rights, disregard of the rule of law and killing of Gambians by the Yahya Jammeh Government. If we could credit the opposition parties for ousting Yaya Jammeh, then what can we claim to be the benefit and contribution of APRC.
It is clear that APRC had one position and contribution, which was to maintain dictatorship because they benefitted from that dictatorship. Thus keeping APRC alive means we disrespect and dishonour the departed souls and those who were raped, beaten and tortured in every unimaginable way.
The APRC has no value in The Gambia other than to further torment and traumatise victims and survivors of the atrocities of Yaya Jammeh. If there is a benefit provided by the presence of APRC, what is it?
Ban the APRC now!