The last weekend’s defection of a ruling party political kingpin is a sign that The Gambia’s dictator leader is losing political capital, an invisible currency that a politician uses to mobilise the voting public. This clearly depicts that Yahya Jammeh’s influence and popularity within his Alliance for Patriotic Re-orientation and Construction (APRC) is weaning.
Until his defection to the opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) on Sunday at a Latrikunda Sabije rally, Omar Saho had been a very influential APRC youth leader who had over the years denied the opposition the opportunity to spread political influence among youths in Mariama Kunda in Kombo North, moreso galvanise their votes. This is why the UDP leadership thinks Saho’s defection is like a “Manna from Heaven.”
Saho defected to the UDP two days before the party’s youth rally took place. After publicly announcing his decision, Mr. Saho prayed that “Allah clears the minds of my fellow youths from darkness to allow the see the light and stop following Yahya Jammeh for no genuine reason.”
Saho, whose wife was also another APRC youth wing bedrock, regretted “blindly following the APRC for 20 years.” His appeal to Gambian youths is plain and simple: “let’s join the UDP ranks and take back a country that belongs to us.” It wasn’t clear whether his wife is also joining the opposition camp.
This development comes after the defection of the APRC youth leaders to the UDP at Brufut village, Kombo North, some weeks back.
However, the Jammeh regime in Novemver 2013 detained and prosecuted The Voice Newspaper journalists for reporting a story on the defection of 19 APRC youths at a UDP conference at Tanji village in Kombo North. After a painstaking legal tussle, the court threw away the case and set free Editor Musa Sheriff and reporter Sainey Marenah of publishing false news charge.