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“The APRC will not listen to any reform proposal from the opposition- why should we?” he said

Colley gave the comment in an exclusive interview with The Standard while he was on a nationwide tour of informing supporters of the ruling party about their upcoming congress slated for June.  

He added: “When we ask them to join us and develop the country, they don’t; so why should we listen to them on anything about whatever reform proposal they have? Is it only the elections that they care about? Shouldn’t they join us to work for the socio-economic development of this country? Governance goes beyond elections and should they only wait for elections before Gambians know opposition are in this country? 

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“Anything that we do is considered by the opposition as negative and we will equally consider their proposal to be negative. So let them sign a golden paper, we will not consider it.  We will not listen to them even if they say it is their legitimate right for us to listen to them. Is it not our legitimate rights also to be listened to?”

The opposition leaders in the country have reportedly drafted an electoral reform proposal which is expected to be signed and sent to “relevant” government institutions for “consideration”. 

Colley also ridiculed the introduction of second round of voting as “a waste of resource” adding that the APRC will also not remove the presidential age limit from the constitution which is pegged at 65.

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He said: “What is the essence of second round of voting? The argument that it assures that the incumbent voted is sure to have over 50 percent of the votes is absurd. There is no difference between being defeated with one vote or more – the important thing is the mandate from the greater populace. And that is what simply majority ensures.

“Second round of voting might even be relevant if the opposition can, together, pull 30 percent of the votes. They can never have that because it has never happened. So second round of voting is a waste of resources- it makes no sense. Since the APRC started to contest elections in this country, we have never gone down below 50 percent of the votes. We have more than 60 percent of votes in all the elections that we contested so what are the big noise about second round of voting. Why would we go for second round of voting just to prove to the opposition that we can defeat them even with that reform when we will just waste the tax payers’ money? 

“These opposition [leaders] clamouring for this change are day dreamers. They sit down, dream and come up with these ideas that are not sellable.”

He added: “We will not change the age limit because when it is going on, nobody thinks about changing it or criticise it so why should we change it now? The age limit is justifiable though we don’t care whoever they select as their candidate but do they want to tell us that they do not have a candidate or all their potential candidates are over aged? Can they even say their most formidable candidates are over aged? They are not even with the people and people aren’t with them either. So if they think they can sit down and dictate to us what reforms we should do, they are joking- they don’t own The Gambia. If they want the Independent Electoral Commission to make any reform – that is not the business of the APRC. The IEC is an independent body and I cannot talk for them with regard to reforms.”

Colley also took time to criticise Mai Fatty, an exiled Gambian politician who has recently been outspoken about electoral reform, calling him a negligible figure in Gambian politics. 

He said: “Who is Mai Fatty to tell us what we should reform in the country’s electoral law? Mai Fatty cannot even pull more than 10 votes in this country – he does not even have an executive in his own party nor could he hold a congress. Mai Fatty is not in the political calendar in this country. Let Mai Fatty sit outside and say whatever way he wants for Gambian politics. For the APRC, the most important thing is the development of Gambian people.”  


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