‘Barrow’s decision to form alliance with APRC is shocking to Jammeh’s victims’

Sep 7, 2021, 1:12 PM | Article By: Sankulleh Gibril Janko

The chairman of the Victims Centre of The Gambia, Sheriff Kijera, has said that President Barrow’s decision to form an alliance with the former ruling Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC) is “shocking and depressing to Jammeh’s victims, some of whom, he said, could not sleep for 24 hours after the announcement of the merger..

This, comes after interim leader of APRC Fabakary Tombong Jatta at a presser on Saturday, announced that his party has reached an agreement to throw its support behind President  Barrow’s bid for re-election on 4th December 2021.

Sheriff is among many Gambians, who expressed rage over Barrow’s ambition to retain power at the expense of Gambians.

Gambians on social media including Facebook and Twitter expressed dismay that a president, who on many occasions admitted former ruling APRC government’s atrocities, a president they voted for to bring about change, is the one attempting to bring back that same government to power.

 “This is the biggest betrayal of the century I can mention.”

President Barrow’s government established the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) to establish facts on human rights violations from July 1994 to January 2017, a commission that was seen as a beacon of hope for victims of the APRC government.

Interestingly, the report and recommendations of the TRRC’s two-year work which is expected to greatly affect former President Jammeh and top security officials among others, will be handed to President Barrow.

After this alliance with a party that is expected to be the centre of the report and the recommendations, many Gambians say the work of the commission will be a waste as they don’t expect the president to carry out the recommendations.

And Mr. Kijera says Barrow used the commission to give false impression.

“The establishment of the TRRC basically is a window dressing, he just used it as a political gimmick, trying to show the whole world he is interested in pursuing justice for , while he is interested in pursuing his desire to hold on to the grip of power, self perpetuating rule.”

The APRC interim leader FTJ told party supporters during the press conference that the core of the agreement was to have Jammeh back home as a free man and to be accorded all the respect and dignity as a former Head of State.

Meanwhile, Essa Njie, a Political Science Lecturer at the University of The Gambia says the APRC-NPP coalition will be a formidable team but said it will be too early to call, saying “you can’t say they will win the election hands down.”

He said there could be a possible grand coalition among opposition parties to prevent the incumbent from re-election. “We may see another coalition just like 2016.”

The Political Analyst described the Gambia's political situation as sad, noting that many Gambians never thought an incumbent will form an alliance with APRC after the 2016 election that brought Barrow to power.

He says many Gambians are shocked at Barrow’s decision, but claimed there were indications that Barrow would form an alliance with APRC.

He cited examples of Barrow’s response to questions of forming a coalition with the former ruling party and the handling of the Janneh Commission’s report etc.

The NPP meanwhile in a press release issued on Sunday, expressed excitement over agreeing a deal with APRC in their bid for the presidency.