May 13, 2008, 6:16 AM
With its eyes focused on key opposition strongholds in the Lower River Region notably the districts of Kiang West, Kiang Central and Jarra Central ahead of the forthcoming presidential election, the ruling Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC) party looks more comfortable than many think.
While opposition parties struggle to make headway, after sources say attempts to form a united front failed, Yankuba Colley the National Mobiliser of the APRC party yesterday told this paper, in an interview, that his party is ever ready to face the test, come 24th November.
“We are not a party that will only wait for elections to go out to the people to look for their votes. We are ever ready and, come 24th November, the results will show, because we have the grassroots support, which ensures the steering of the party to victory,” Yankuba Colley told this reporter.
According to Colley, the APRC has been with the people at the grassroots from the day it firscame to power, and the people know the party is with them.
“Coming towards election time, you can even see the way we are moving. APRC is a grassroots party, and it is the only party having structures all over the country,” he stated.
Colley, who said he does not prefer to talk about the opposition, because they do not form part of his agenda, also told this reporter that the issue of a united front by the opposition is a laughing matter.
“It always makes me laugh, for the simple reason that whether they are together or fragmented, they still form a little percentage of the votes of this country. So whether they all join together to become one, it’s going to be the same percentage,” he said, adding that with the APRC it’s all the same.
He further stated that opposition parties registering 10 or less votes can never shake the ruling APRC, which he said, will register 90% of the votes cast, come November 2011.
“How can that shake us? It’s not possible,” he remarked.
“People of this country love progress, and they are happy with what the APRC is doing. What we are working on now is how many percentages we are going to register and, as indicated in our rallies, regions are competing among themselves on who will score the highest percentage of votes for the APRC party,” Colley noted.
In his view, with its track record, the ruling APRC is not competing with any opposition party in this country, but rather competing at the regional level because, as he put it, his party has nothing to compete for with the opposition.
Commenting on the just-concluded countrywide familiarization tour by the new National Youth Mobiliser of the party, Colley said the tour was purely a familiarization tour, and not a political campaign.
“The APRC believes in the grassroots, and so if anybody is appointed to such positions, he or she goes out and meets with the people at the grassroots level, and talk to them,” he added.
Colley also revealed that the new National Women Mobiliser will soon go on a familiarization tour to meet and discuss with the people at the grassroots.
He further told this reporter that, come Wednesday, there will be another mass defection from the opposition to the APRC as the party will be holding a political rally in Jarra Sy-Kunda in the Lower River Region.
“We have an agenda and our agenda is how to make the people of The Gambia live in peace, progress and harmony,” he concluded.
The constituencies of Kiang West, Kiang Central and Jarra Central have, since the advent of the July 22nd Revolution in 1994, been key opposition strongholds and any shift in their political allegiance will mean a lot in the country’s political history, political analysts have said.
Analysts, however, expressed the view that this will be an uphill task for the ruling APRC, whose leader, President Yahya Jammeh will be seeking a fourth five-year term of office in the November polls.
A total number of 837, 029 (Eight Hundred and Thirty Seven Thousand, Twenty Nine) people have registered to vote in the November polls, showing a massive increase over the 670,336 registered voters for the last elections.