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APRC targets key opposition strongholds in LRR

Sep 7, 2011, 1:38 PM | Article By: Lamin B. Darboe

The opposition strongholds in the Lower River Region notably the districts of Kiang West, Kiang Central and Jarra Central will be a focus for the ruling APRC party in the forthcoming presidential election, following assurances by the people of the region of their loyalty to the party.

At a meeting held at State House with President Yahya Jammeh on Monday, a delegation of APRC party bigwigs headed by the Regional Governor, Lamin Waa Juwara, assured the Gambian leader that their region, which until today remains an opposition stronghold, will shift allegiance and vote massively for the ruling party.

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 analyst s have said.

Analysts, however, expressed the view that this will be an uphill task for the ruling APRC, whose leader, President Jammeh will be seeking a fourth five-year term of office in the November polls.

“We want to assure you Your Excellency that, come the 25th November, the ruling APRC party will register a landslide victory in the Lower River Region, particularly Kiang West, Central and Jarra Central,” Governor Juwara, a past critic of the ruling APRC and now Governor of the Lower River Region, said.

Speaker upon speaker at the State House meeting assured the APRC leadership that gone are the days when the Lower River Region rallies behind the opposition.

Monday’s meeting followed similar meetings by delegations from the Kanifing Municipality, Banjul, Central, North Bank, Upper River and West Coast regions, all of which, according to this presidential affairs correspondent for The Point newspaper, were at State House to reassure the Gambian leader of their “total loyalty”.

“Come Election Day, the APRC will conquer all the three National Assembly seats in the hands of the opposition,” Alhagie Seedy Cham, the APRC regional chairman, assured the party leadership.

Speaking at the meeting, President Yahya Jammeh started by lauding the people of the Lower River Region for their turnout during his recently-concluded meet-the-people tour, which he said was not even registered when he took over the country in 1994.

According to him, when he visited the region in 1994, many people were out just to know who Yahya Jammeh was, but during his meet-the-people tour, people turned out in their large numbers because of happiness and love for him, noting that this was very important.

“This is just the beginning. You will be surprised to see more development projects in future because nobody will come and develop this county for us. It is we the Gambians who should stand up and develop this country,” Jammeh stated.

“Before 1994, one can count the number of high schools in the country, but today who can count the number of high schools built from 1994 to date across the country,” he said, adding that anyone who stays away from voting during the election will be denied getting a passport.

He noted that anyone who does not vote in the forthcoming elections will be classified as an enemy of the state.

The Gambian leader urged APRC militants in the Lower River Region whom, he said, were beaten, harassed and disowned by their communities, to be patient as they will reap the fruits of their labour for the past 17 years.

The Vice President and Minister of Women’s Affairs, Aja Dr. Isatou Njie-Saidy, described Governor Lamin Waa Juwara as a true citizen of The Gambia for seeing for himself the reality of what President Jammeh is doing for the country. 

“This is why Juwara shifted his allegiance to the APRC party when he was attracted by the many developments Jammeh has done in the country from 1994 to date,” VP Njie-Saidy stated.

She expressed optimism that the people of Kiang West have now shifted their support to the APRC party, and commended the youths of the region for their efforts.

Lamin Kaba Bajo, minister of Fisheries, Water Resources and National Assembly Matters, who is also the liaison officer for the region, expressed confidence that the people of LRR and Kiang, in particular, will make changes in their area come November.

“We are not thinking of whether President Jammeh will win this coming presidential election or not. What we are thinking of now is how he is going to win in terms of percentage,” he said, while calling on APRC supporters to welcome the newcomers into the party by opening their hands and hearts to them.

Other speakers at the meeting included Tenengba Jaiteh, deputy Minister of Petroleum, APRC National Mobiliser and Mayor of the Kanifing Municipality, Yamkuba Colley, Hon. Njie Darboe, APRC desk officer and National Assembly Member for Jarra West constituency, among others.