APRC leaders say their loss of a majority seat in the parliament does not mean the decades-long former ruling party has lost its support grounds to win the next presidential elections.
The party’s leader, former Majority Leader, Fabakary Tombong Jatta and a Member of Parliament, Musa Amul Nyassi insist the party is still the “biggest and strongest” in the country.
“I still believe that APRC is the biggest and strongest party in the country. If you look at the NAM elections, the turnout was very low and you can’t use that to measure a party’s strength,” Nyassi told WOG Magazine.
APRC was birthed after ousted dictator, Yahya Jammeh took over power in a coup in 1994. Jammeh ruled the Gambia with an iron-fist and accused of killing dissidents and political opponents.
He lost the presidential elections last year to opposition presidential hopeful, Adama Barrow, a real estate mogul, who had returned to the Gambia from the UK in 2006.
Jammeh won most of the votes in the country’s eastern region of Jangjanbureh and in the southwestern region of Foni in one of the biggest elections upset Western Africa has ever seen.
The APRC had the majority of seats in parliament throughout Jammeh’s 22-year rule. Jammeh often overrides the parliament and ruled with executive orders and presidential decrees, for the most part.
The APRC dominated parliament passed all bills tabled by Jammeh’s administration. MPs from his party, who show some form of resistance are expelled from his party, making them lose their seats.
APRC won no seats in Jangjanbureh after Jammeh’s ouster. The party only won in Foni but Yankuba Colley, the mayor of the industrial city of Kanifing says that does not imply they have lost their base in eastern Gambia.
Colley, a senior APRC official is up for a challenge a year from now during the local government elections, in a region where his party has seen a diminishing support.