By Yusef Taylor, @FlexDan_YT
The Gambia Center for Victim of Human Rights Violations has labelled President Adama Barrow’s decision to form an Alliance with exiled former President Yahya Jammeh’s party as “quite disheartening and treacherous”. The strongly-worded press release described the former Dictator’s governing party, the Association for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC) as a “terrorist party”.
The press release from the Victim Center labelled former President Jammeh “a tinpot dictator who orchestrated the crimes of mass killings and raped innocent mothers and daughters, and fathers and sons for 22 years of APRC tyrannical regime”.
President Barrow came into power in January 2017 after defeating former President Jammeh who fled to Equatorial Guinea after regional military presence from ECOWAS came to the Gambia coupled with series of diplomatic interventions by ECOWAS Heads of States.
Since then, President Barrow has formed his own National People’s Party (NPP) and has employed “enablers” of the former Dictator such as Hon Seedy Njie and Defense Minister Sheikh Faye. The latter has been condemned by the Victims Center for asking victims to “suck it up” and not to “cry over spilt milk”.
Victims Center: Barrow’s Treacherous Betrayal
The presser highlights that the NPP-APRC Alliance “was announced by the Interim Leader of the APRC Hon Fabakary Tombong Jatta at a Press Conference held on 4 September 2021 at Coco Ocean”. The NPP-APRC Alliance was confirmed when “the Deputy Spokesperson of the National People’s Party (NPP) Seedy Njie in a press briefing held on Sunday at Mankamang Kunda, welcoming the announcement made by Fabakary Jatta for the APRC to form an alliance with NPP”.
According to the release dated 6th September “the victims find it quite disheartening and treacherous for Adama Barrow to abandon the Gambia’s Transitional Justice Process and her crying citizens to run back to that killer and rapist tyrant and his terrorist party for an Alliance to consolidate a desire for self-perpetuating rule”.
However, the interim party leader of former President Jammeh’s APRC believes that “both parties have the Gambia first at heart and that’s why it was never impossible for us to reach an agreement”. According to the former Majority Leader in Parliament, Hon Fabakary Tombong Jatta, both parties “are convinced that the two parties coming together is in the greater good of the Gambia and will ensure speedy recovery among Gambians”.
Hon FTJ on “APRC-NPP Coalition Agreement”
Details of the MoU is very sketchy as the agreement hasn’t been made public, however, copies of what appears to be the Coalition MoU have been circulating on social media. However, an NPP Youth Party Leader has declared the document as fake. In reaction to this, the Victims Center press briefing highlights that “the parties failed to disclose their obnoxious MOU publicly because it represents the worst betrayal of public trust”.
Given the absence of the actual MoU agreement Gainako has reviewed the statement by Hon Jatta and extracted segments where he speaks about the MoU agreement.
According to Hon Jatta, both parties have agreed that “come 2021 all those members of the NPP and their sympathizers and all APRC members would vote for President Adama Barrow”. Another key point he noted is that “after the formation of the coalition and the success in our election, there will be a coalition government where APRC will be part of the government, from every level, from ministerial to any other position”.
On the issue of President Jammeh’s return, Hon Jatta believes “that come Allah willing 2021 and that we are able to succeed, that for us the light of this country, the beacon of hope, his Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhagie Yahya AJJ Jammeh will be accorded the right with those people with him to come back peacefully to his home country”.
For the Victims Center, this appears to be the main sticking point of the Agreement between APRC and the NPP. According to the Victims Center press briefing, “the Alliance is perceived as a threat that may affect the implementation of TRRC recommendations by the government as well as the healing process of victims of the former ruling government”.