Gambia’s main opposition APRC party said the country’s unity government is targeting to disrupt its operations, and have the party disbanded after suffering a humiliating defeat in Thursday’s parliamentary elections.
The former ruling party, whose leader Yahya Jammeh has been exiled, were evicted from their party head office, which is said to be a state property.
Gambian authorities say the APRC failed to pay rent for five years. They started occupying the building in the industrial city of Kanifing after Jammeh severed ties with Taiwan.
The property was rented from the government’s asset recovery corporation by the Taiwanese government before their diplomatic mission left.
“We in the APRC are not surprised by all the witch hunting that is being perpetrated against us but I strongly think what we should have prioritized now as Gambians are to reconcile and move on as a nation of one people,” said Mayor of Kanifing, Yankuba Colley.
Colley’s colleagues, including a spokesperson for Jammeh, Seedy SK Njie lost in their attempt to secure parliamentary seats.
The APRC only won seats in the Fonis, the region in southwestern Gambia, where Jammeh is from and had his personal residence. It is also home to his Jola tribesmen, which has backed his administration for decades.
APRC’s loss show the party is no longer popular. It is losing support to the newly formed GDC party, led by a former parliamentarian, Mama Kandeh.
Kandeh’s party, which is less than a year old won five seats in Thursday’s elections and poses the biggest threat to the main UDP party in presidential polls expected to take place before 2020.
Pro-democracy activists say APRC should not be banned but victims of the regime’s brutality said it will not help with healing the nation. Skirmishes have been reported between its militants and supporters of the unity government, leaving several people injured.
Charges against two dozen of its supporters have been dropped by state prosecutors and Attorney General, Aboubacarr Baa Tambadou said a truth commission into allegations of human rights abuses by Jammeh’s regime will start work by September.