The APRC Wahala

Nov 8, 2021, 1:55 PM

In recent weeks, we have seen the APRC undergoing political turbulences with two divided camps. Some party executive members claimed that with the blessings of Jammeh, their Supreme Leader, they signed an alliance pact with the NPP for the 2021 elections. Other members claimed that the coalition agreement was not sanctioned by Jammeh. The Wahala, therefore, produced a YES CAMP to NPP and a NO CAMP to NPP.

The party politics became toxic, with the verdict of the party leader anxiously awaited by party supporters across the country. Finally, on Friday October 16 2021 ex-President Jammeh and APRC party leader addressed the APRC congregation in his hometown of Kanilai via a link from Equatorial Guinea. He made it clear that he was not in support of an APRC/NPP alliance. He dissolved the executive that went into the alliance talks with NPP and appointed a new executive of the APRC. He further sanctioned for the new executive to work with the Gambia National Unity Party (GANU) led by Sheigkh TejanHydara.

It could be concluded therefore that Jammeh’s Plan A was to get APRC out of the NPP camp. It is equally well known that Jammeh will not want to see a UDP government in place in the country. Most likely, therefore, Jammeh will come up with a Plan B to try to keep the UDP out of power. It will be anticipated that APRC/GANU will be further directed to go into alliance with other parties in the race to the presidency. Gambians must brace up to this possibility. From the look of developments in the arena, the political wavelengths may produce surprising results contrary to many beliefs by political pundits.

Let us now look deeper into the fracas within the APRC. The sacked APRC executive members reacted bitterly to the decisions taken by their ‘Supreme Leader’ ex-President Jammeh. They now hold the view that Jammeh does not own the APRC and that he has no right to expel them from the party. If that was the case, then why did they hold the party and its leadership on behalf of Jammeh over the past five years? The same executive members were in an APRC congress in Bwiam in which Jammeh was unanimously elected to head the APRC.

They went further to declare Jammeh as the party’s SUPREME LEADER. Where was IEC when this event took place? It must be concluded therefore that FTJ and the executive members cannot be politically and legally recognized to hold APRC leadership positions. The IEC should not enter into a fight that is not their business. This is an APRC internal affair and the law courts are there to address the WAHALA should it be taken there by any opposing side.

It is to be observed that the APRC/GANU rallies in SOMITA and GUNJUR showed clearly that the APRC is intact in allegiance with Jammeh and GANU. We have now seen a dramatic twist by Jammeh in that APRC has been approved to work with GDC. This confirms the notion that Jammeh supports neither the NPP nor the UDP in this year’s elections.  Jammeh’s grip over the APRC is undeniably clear. This new alliance between the APRC and GDC will pose serious challenges to other parties in the race.

The Jammeh issue is a tricky situation in the 2021 elections. As long as Jammeh’s return home is seen as against the Gambian state and the APRC has not been exterminated since the very beginning of New Gambia, we are heading towards a politically difficult and unpredictable outcome in the 2021 elections. In 2016 elections, the coalition came out first, APRC second and GDC third in position. With the increase in numbers of registered voters and political aspirants, a winning strategy in the course of the campaign is a must.

Delusional leadership in the election campaigns could produce tragic outcomes if politicians fail to view the realities on the ground.

By D.M. Badjie

Political Scientist/Analyst