The APRC is not associated with the t-shirts bearing the inscription #GambiaHasRegretted, senior officials of the party told SMBC on Wednesday, ahead of a major weekend rally.
The party has distanced itself from the reported printing of the t-shirts that were to be an indication that the country has nostalgia over former President Yahya Jammeh’s ouster.
No actually printed t-shirt with #GambiaHasRegretted has been seen. Graphic pictures of the t-shirts that were seen online sparked anger and concerned citizens urged the former ruling party not to print them.
“We have nothing to do with those [#GambiaHasRegretted] t-shirts. We did not print or distribute any such shirt. The only thing we distributed here were the ‘asobi’ for Saturday’s rally,” the party’s spokesperson, Seedy SK Njie said.
Opposition officials say government supporters are using the t-shirts as a front to incite anger towards the APRC, which is holding its first major rally since its defeat in the presidential and parliamentary elections.
Government supporters have called for the arrest of anyone seen wearing the t-shirt but rights campaigners warned authorities should not prohibit anyone from wearing a t-shirt showing support for the ex-leader.
“We do not have a hand in this and in fact, we are not encouraging that,” senior opposition figure, Mayor Yankuba Colley said. “Anyone can come up with a t-shirt like that but not APRC. We are not part of it.”
The party of former President Jammeh accused authorities of political oppression and said their members have been targeted by authorities, who have questioned their interim leader for allegedly inciting violence.
The police have denied harassing and intimidating opposition leaders and have confirmed giving a permit to the APRC to hold its weekend rally, a gathering considered to be a revival of the former ruling bloc.
The coalition government has seized their accounts and evicted them from their party headquarters as part of efforts to prevent Jammeh from liquidating assets.