By Alagie Manneh
Interim opposition APRC leader, Fabakary Tombong Jatta has hit back at comments likening former Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh to Hissène Habré.
Victims including officials of the Centre for Victims of Human Rights Violations, CVHRV likened Jammeh to Habré, who ruled Chad from 1982 to 1990 and committed crimes against humanity.
“Which people are saying that? Who are those people? Are they Gambian people or outside people?” Mr Jatta queried.
“I believe that everybody has an opinion. Let me say one thing: I respect everybody, whatever your opinion is. I respect you and your opinion, but I reserve the right to differ from it and disagree,” he said during an interview in Kanilai recently.
“That said, my opinion is different. I see President Jammeh, as somebody who has tremendously transformed The Gambia from an unknown country, and for Gambians to be able to stand and express themselves and know their rights, and for Gambians to be fearless, to be patriotic and enlightened through the creation of relevant institutions for the youths and all other people.
For 32 years and also during colonialism, none of those things existed in The Gambia. That is my opinion of the man.”
Mr Jatta also condemned members of other parties “who go round, especially in the provinces, telling people the APRC is an ‘illegal party’.”
He said that is a below-the belt tactic to tarnish the image of the party.
“They told them that this is a criminal party; you cannot join them. If you do, you are criminal. Now we have to sensitise the people and tell them that, that is misinformation, that the APRC is APRC and it is legally constituted and that the Gambian law provides for anybody… whatever party you want to, join, join. Let nobody fool people that APRC is illegal,” he added.
Mr Jatta said “a lot has happened to the APRC” since the defeat of Jammeh, insisting that many of those things are “entirely unfair”.
“Even our vehicles, they seized them all. And our bureau? They moved us out without notice.”