The rumors that have been flying around for the past few weeks about the formation of a Coalition between NPP, President Barrow’s political party and, former President Yaya Jammeh’s party, APRChave become a reality. Ordinarily, there is nothing wrong with this because The Gambia is a democracy and political association either at individual or party level is a Constitutional right. However, this coalition in the case of The Gambia is completely different because,it is a total betrayal of what the 2016 Coalition stood and fought for. Untold numbers of Gambians were murdered, maimed, disappeared, brutalised and, billions of dalasi were squandered by former dictator Yaya Jammeh and the APRC government aided and abetted by Jammeh’s henchmen at the expense of Gambians. We have all seen and heard unbelievable accounts of atrocities and other inhumane acts recounted at the just concluded TRRC hearings. The final report of the TRRC is not even submitted and what has President Barrow done, formed a coalition with the people who committed these heinous crimes against The Gambia and her people.
An important instrument in the healing and reconciliation process in the post Jammeh dictatorship is the TRRC and the APRC has expressed its total rejection of this process on every possible opportunity. How can President Barrow reconcile this position with the principles professed as the basis of setting up the TRRC in the first place? What explanation can this Government offer to the victims and their relatives for the atrocities committed against them and their loved ones? This country is yearning for truth and reconciliation and forming alliances with political forces that have made no secret of their aim to subvert this reconciliation process and deepen the chaos and hardship the country is going through will be a great disservice to the Gambian people who have waited so patiently to see justice and development. The NPP alliance with the APRC is the final act of President Barrow in the systematic betrayal of Gambian people since the historic elections of 2016, and the following reasons will suffice to illustrate why this coalition is a national threat and, why it must be confronted and defeated in the interest of The Gambia and Gambians.
Selfishness and hunger for power: President Barrow’s hunger for power is obvious to all of us because he said he would do anything to win the December 2021 presidential election. Therefore, as a desperate move to achieve that objective, he has now shown to Gambians that he is willing to sleep with the devil, APRC, the party that made The Gambia and Gambians cry so hard over the past 22 years of dictatorship, per evidence at the TRRC. This is not the first time that President Barrow decided to put his interest ahead of the national interest of The Gambia. One of the most important objectives of the Transition Government was to draw a new Constitution for The Gambia. After spending over 100 million dalasi in this effort, it was thwarted by President Barrow simply because he apparently wants to serve 15 years presidency and not 10years. On the other hand, the APRC’s interest according to their interim leader is to bring former President Yaya Jammeh back to The Gambia, as a free and respected former Head of State. Implicit in this is that, after Barrow wins in December 2021, he will pardon Yaya Jammeh of all the crimes he and his henchmen committed against Gambians over his 22 years of terror. If this were to happen, what about Jammeh’s victims and the justice they demand anddeserve? How will that bring about national reconciliation and peace, which was the whole purpose of the TRRC?
Corruption and incompetence: It is widely acknowledged that there is rampant corruption in The Gambia. This fact was not disputed by the Barrow Administration when it was recently accused by the US State Department of ignoring corruption. Corruption in a country leads to instability and insecurity because it hampers national development, which, in turn adversely affects people’s lives. With very high youth unemployment, high costs of living and apparently no tangible plans by the government to solve these huge social problems, it is not difficult to see the potential threat these pose to the country. The incompetence demonstrated by this administration in the execution of priority objectives of the Transition Government should leave little doubt in our minds that if given another 5 or 10 more years to govern as they aspire, their performance would be nodifferent from what we have already seen. Gambians cannot and should not take that gamble with their lives period!
Given the realistic scenario outlined above, it is extremely important for all well-meaning Gambians to re-examine seriously the political situation in our country in the face of this unholy and toxic alliancebetween NPP and APRC. We need to come up with a realistic strategy that will stop it from achieving its objective that is to win the 2021 December Presidential Election and continue the plunder and destruction of the state and its resources. This MUST be stopped because it will not be in the interest of The Gambia and her people. The Gambia’s future is at stake and we need to act now. In 2016, Gambian people got rid of a dictatorship and a repeat resolve to prevent backsliding towards dictatorship in 2021 is a national duty we each owe to our country.
Communication Cell, Gambia For All (GFA)
Ma-Jonka House, Block 6a, Kanifing Estate
September 7, 2021.