The Gambia’s ousted ruling party is making a fresh attempt at reviving its strength just a year after suffering two humiliating defeats in the hands of ex-opposition rivals.
The APRC party, which ruled The Gambia for 22 years until last year has put up two candidates for the mayorship of the country’s capital, Banjul and its commercial hub, Kanifing.
It has also put up several candidates across the country in far-reaching hopes that it will maintain a majority of the local government seats for councilors.
Ousman Rambo Jatta of Bakau has been selected by the party of demoralized ex-autocrat Yahya Jammeh as their candidate for Kanifing Municipality and Abdoulie Saine, an ex-legislator for the capital, Banjul.
Jatta was an opposition strongman during Jammeh’s rule before making a political gamble and joining the ex-president. He is now an outspoken critic of his former party, the UDP after serving Jammeh as permanent secretary and director of the pro-APRC newspaper, the Daily Observer.
Saine was a former National Assembly Member for Banjul Central. He suffered defeat just a year ago in the parliamentary polls, accused of backing Jammeh’s attempt to stage a constitutional coup by voting for a state of emergency meant to extend Jammeh’s rule following the ex-leader’s defeat in the presidential polls.
At least two dozen others are being backed by the party, which has just ended a weeks-long tour marred by clashes between their supporters and that of President Adama Barrow [mostly from the UDP party].
APRC is favored to win most of the seats in the opposition stronghold of Foni, the southwestern region where Jammeh hails from, despite Barrow’s visit to the region and wooing of Jammeh’s loyalist to embrace the spirit of the New Gambia.
April’s election will be the litmus test of APRC popularity over that of UDP. It will measure the impact of their political rhetorics across the country and their continuous efforts to drum up support to keep their party alive.