By Abdoulie John
The leader of the Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC) Fabakary Tombong Jatta has warned Gambia government to desist from pushing them to the wall. Mr. Jatta’s furious statement followed the government’s refusal to grant permit for the celebration of July 1994 illegal takeover of power.
“In the circumstances, we call on the government to respect our rights and freedoms and not to push us to our limit when we would be forced to express our frustration within the ambit of the law,” the former Majority Leader of the APRC dominated rubber-stamping Parliament told journalists on Wednesday.
The APRC leader’s remarks came at a time when intensified rumours of a
possible celebration of July 22nd military takeover by the party have provoked waves of indignation. A situation that prompted the Gambia’s Information Ministry to issue a statement stating that “1994 coup was an illegal act, staged principally, to usurp power and subvert the popular will of the Gambian people who fought through their sweat and blood to establish and nurture a democratic culture for 30 years that became an envy of the whole world. Memories are still fresh of the brutality that the July 22nd coup brought on Gambians.”
Jatta denied any plan by his party to glorify the 1994 military coup d’etat that brought the country’s ousted dictator to power. He said their intention was to celebrate the birth of their party founded on July 22nd, 1996. But research proved that the APRC was founded in August 23rd 1996.
Despite his appalling human rights and economic looting, Jatta reiterated allegiance to former dictator Yahya Jammeh. “The APRC National Executive Committee on behalf of all party militants, members, sympathizers and other well meaning Gambians, recognize, appreciate and Yahya Jammeh for his sterling leadership qualities which heralded in unprecedented socio-economic development,” he added.
Jatta said as a political party they have the rights to celebrate their existence and achievements. He cited the cases of United States where Klu Klux Klan members (KKK) can glorify racism, and Germany where Nazis linked to the banned National Party continue to celebrate the killings of millions of Jews.
He accused the Barrow government of targeting their supporters subjecting them to arbitrary arrest and detention.
The APRC leader urged the government to focus attention to fulfilling their promises “rather than being paranoid about the APRC and its former president Yahya Jammeh.”
Yahya Jammeh had ruled the Gambia with iron fist for 22 years until he was voted out of office in December 2016 presidential elections. He had conceded defeat only to take back his words a week later resulting to weeks of a political impasse. In the end, the man who claimed to have owned the Gambia was forced into exile in Equatorial Guinea after ECOWAS intervention forces entered the country.