The new head of the Gambia’s former ruling party said the APRC should not be blamed for crimes against the state and human rights abuses committed by its party founder, former dictator, Yahya Jammeh.
Fabakary Tombong Jatta, Chairperson of Jammeh’s APRC party called the accusations against the party that ruled Gambia with an iron fist for two decades ‘unfair.’
“The supposed wrongdoings by Jammeh was not done on behalf of the APRC as a party,” he said. “All those alleged to have committed wrongs were not doing it in the name of the party and that include former President Jammeh.”
Jammeh’s administration committed human rights abuses and siphoned billions of dollars. The parliament backed all his ‘unconstitutional and unruly’ actions and executive orders without an objection, including the torture, killing and prolonged detention of political opponents, journalists, rights defenders and his perceived enemies.
Jatta was the Majority Leader of the National Assembly and supported an attempt by Jammeh to have the exiled leader’s mandate extended by authorizing a state of emergency in parliament.
The decision was reversed by the APRC-backed House after regional troops forced Jammeh to flee. Protests were held demanding Jatta and other lawmakers who voted in favor of the state of emergency to resign.Activists accused them of betraying the people and undermining democracy. Some demanded they be charged with treason.
APRC suffered a humiliating defeat in last week’s parliamentary elections. It went from having 43 seats to winning only five seats in the first major vote since Jammeh’s ouster. The party has not put up candidates in 22 constituencies.
Jatta did not seek re-election. The Tallinding seat was won by a former opposition activist, Fatoumata Jawara who was tortured and jailed for taking part in anti-government protests demanding electoral reform.