By Yankuba Jallow & Nelson Manneh
Fabakary Tombong Jatta, the leader of the Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC), said Thursday that the National Executive Committee (NEC) of their party has reached a decision to remove three of their members from the aforesaid committee.
Two were removed for being part of the former President Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh’s group, while one was removed for suspicion of leaking out information from the executive committee.
“All members aligned to the NAM [Non-Alliance-Members] and holding positions in APRC from the village level to National Executive Committee are hereby relieved of their duties,” he said.
Jatta directed all regional chairmen of the party and their desk officers to execute the order and ensure that the members are replaced forthwith.
Abdou Jarju, then the Youth Mobiliser of APRC and the leader of Jammeh’s handpicked committee, has been relieved of his duties in the executive committee. Jarju was replaced by his immediate deputy Pa Matarr Ndow.
“Honourable Abdou Jarju and Bakary Saibo Sanneh are no [longer] members of the National Executive Committee,” Jatta said.
Momodou Lamin Jammeh, a former Chief of Protocol of the party, was also relieved of his duties in the aforesaid committee for suspicion that he was leaking information from the NEC WhatsApp platform to people outside.
Jatta said since the former chief of protocol was removed from the WhatsApp group, there has been no incident of information leaking out to the public. He said Momodou Lamin Jammeh was spotted by a team of intelligence investigators. Jatta said ex-President Jammeh was aware of the APRC-NPP alliance talks.
“The APRC-NPP alliance was done in the best interest of the country,” he said. “I can swear anywhere that he [Yahya Jammeh] was aware and the discussion was on loudspeaker in the presence of former Mayor Yankuba Colley and Rambo [Ousman Rambo Jatta].”
The resident of Tallinding said all the steps they were taking were for the interest of the country, former President Yahya Jammeh and the green party – APRC.
Yahya Jammeh, who said he is founder and the supreme leader of APRC, denounced the APRC-NPP alliance in a telephone address to his supporters at Kanilai, his hometown. Jammeh said Jatta’s-led executive is no longer the leader of the APRC as he handpicked his new executive. He went further to ask his party militants to join GANU.
But Tombong Jatta, who was the former majority leader of the National Assembly, said Jammeh was a former head of state for 22 years and the leader of APRC for 20 years.
“He deserves our respect. We must recognise that despite how hurt we may be, we know and recognise that he has transformed the country within 22 years,” he said.
To him, Jammeh’s comments were as a result of what he referred to as “ill-advice and mis-advice” by people who pretend to love him but actually don’t. He said Jammeh should have called the National Executive Committee to express his “reservation.”
The APRC leader took time to call on his party supporters to remain discipline and not to be moved by Jammeh’s comments as he urged them all to vote for President Adama Barrow.
Jatta told the press that when the coalition talks began, there were dissenting voices and there was a nationwide consultation after which a decision was reached. He said it was the decision of the majority which every party member is expected to respect, adding that the APRC-NPP alliance was signed on the 2nd September 2021.
The former lawmaker took time to caution GANU to stop using APRC symbols at their political rallies because there is no GANU-APRC alliance, saying GANU using APRC symbols is illegal and misleading.
“We will not hesitate to take legal or any step necessary to prevent anybody from taking us for granted,” he said.
He said his party will write to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), Inspector General of Police and the Inter-Party Committee notifying them that APRC has no alliance with GANU and that they should stop using their party symbols.
“We are warning GANU to desist from using our symbols and colours at their political rallies,” he said.
Jatta said since the former head of state left the country, things have been challenging to them adding there were attempts to bury APRC alive.
“We were upright, resolute and prepared to surmount all difficulties until we get to where we are today,” he said.
He said APRC has been in the opposition and they are an opposition “with a difference” as they remain disciplined, believed in Allah (God) and respected authority.
“We went through abuses, insults. Despite that, we were tolerant and disciplined,” he said.
Jatta took time to call on APRC militants to vote for President Barrow as he praised him for his leadership style, saying they chose NPP from a host of political parties who approached them to form an alliance. He mentioned that GANU, GDC, ARND, GAP and others wanted to have an alliance with APRC, but they chose NPP in the best interest of the nation.