Now that the presidential election is in the history books and President Adama Barrow works towards healing the deeply wounded nation, Gambian head to the polls again to elect their representatives.
Whiles human rights abuses are on snooze, non-ideological politicals never sleep and Jammeh’s ouster came with the waking of tribalism.
This has, however, not rescued the APRC, former President Yahya Jammeh’s party from facing the wrath of Gambians. Gambians are defecting from the party, mostly joining the opposition GDC party and the UDP.
Jammeh’s siphoning off billions of dollars from taxpayers and showing evidence of mass graves where he buried his perceived enemies shined a light on the many otherwise unbelieve human rights abuses carried out by his regime.
The APRC faces such a difficulty in maintaining a majority in parliament that it has not fielded in candidates in the country’s northern bank. Seven of its parliamentarians in the Badibous and Niumis have now joined the UDP, which is part of the eight opposition groups that united to defeat them in the presidential polls.
As the emergence of the GDC cost APRC some of its fence sitting members during the December elections, it will also cost them during the parliamentary polls on Thursday.
The former ruling party, which has held on to the majority of the seats in parliament for two decades may keep a handful of seats in the Foni settlement, and in provincial Gambia’s Central River and Upper River Regions.
The party won the Central River Region and enjoys popular support in the Fonis, where Jammeh is from. Jammeh comes from the Jola tribe, which makes the majority of the Foni districts in southern Gambia, near the border with Casamance.
House Majority Leader, Fabakary Tombong Jatta not attempting to maintain is his seat shows that the prospects for APRC are undoubted bleak. Believing that APRC will have influence in the parliament is also unrealistic. They were a rubber stamp parliament and unprincipled.
It does not mean that the UDP, PDOIS and NRP, the three main parties that formed the coalition that brought Barrow to power do not face challenges.
The parliamentary polls were supposed to be seen as a victory for the unity government. But the fracture that emerged, pushing the parties to all contest for seats individually instead of pursuing a tactical alliance presents a real test to Barrow as to how he will administer the country.
With Halifa Sallah favored to Serrekunda, Barrow can expect that his policies will not have an easy pass in parliament. Although there is an improved democratic prospect now, a diminished return from this election could be party politics taking priority over national interest.