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Yahya Jammeh Advises Potential APRC Flag Bearer Hopefuls to Establish Their Own Political Party

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Yahya Jammeh, former president of the Gambia

By Buba Gagigo

Yahya Jammeh, the former president of the Republic of the Gambia, has conveyed through a WhatsApp audio message to his supporters that those interested in becoming flag bearers for the APRC party should establish their own political parties.

In the message, Jammeh outlined a shift in his communication strategy within the party. He emphasized that his interactions would now be directed through the council of elders and chairmen rather than the executive, asserting his right to communicate with any party member without external interference.

“And let me see whether anybody will be angry that I am talking to the council of elders and try to fight the council of elders. Because there are reasons why I have to communicate with certain people. And I have a right to communicate with any member of the party. Nobody tells me whom I should talk to and whom I shouldn’t talk to. Let me make that very clear. I can talk to anybody in the Gambia. That is nobody’s business. Either concerning something or concerning the party. I can talk to anybody in the Gambia as long as the person will get things done,” he said.

He expressed confidence in the council of elders and chairmen, urging them not to compromise on discipline and to remove ineffective individuals from their positions. 

“They should not compromise with discipline, and they should not compromise with rotten wood that is there in position, and they are not delivering, and they don’t want other people to deliver. If you are not going to work, leave your position and go,” he said.

Addressing the party’s future, Jammeh clarified that there will be no rebranding, emphasizing the sanctity of the party’s manifesto.

“Let me also make it very clear, there will be no rebranding of the party; it is not going to be branded; it is not going to happen. The party has a manifesto, and the manifesto is sacrosanct. The party manifesto is what guided us to develop the country the way we did. So there’s not going to be any fundamental change to the party structure,” he said.

Jammeh insisted that the existing legal structures of the APRC, established since its constitution, would remain unchanged. He rejected any attempt to introduce new positions outside the original structure and urged the chairmen to adhere to the defined roles.

“Let me make it very clear to the chairman. And the powers that have to be defined are very clear. Everything has been defined when I made the appointment of this executive, and that was why I decided that. You cannot just be Deputy Number Two without an area of responsibility. They have to stick to the original positions that I gave them. We never had a mobilizer General in the APRC. What we had was a national mobilizer, which is the title. And we have a national women’s mobilizer, and those are the structures I am going to maintain. I want the chairmen to listen to that.

Addressing concerns about titles within the party, Jammeh emphasized maintaining the established titles such as national mobilizer, national campaign manager, national women’s mobilizer, and national youth mobilizer. He dismissed the title of “Mobilizer General” and stressed the importance of adhering to the party’s historical structures.

“For 22 years, that is what we had, but anything that has to pass through that mobilizer General is nonsense, and I am not going to take it. Let me make it very clear. Let them abandon that title of mobilizer general; that is not going to happen. What we had was a national mobilizer, a national campaign manager, a national women’s mobilizer, and a national youth mobilizer. When we say youths we are talking about boys and girls. Those are the only structures that would be part of the party. National Mobilizer General is rubbish and is not going to happen,” he said.

Calling for unity and efficiency within the party, Jammeh urged the chairmen and council of elders to address internal issues and ensure that all members actively contribute. He highlighted the importance of individuals who bring people into the party, emphasizing their role as contributors to the party’s success.

“Anybody who is bringing as many people as possible is the guy who is working, not somebody who sits around and starts complaining about money,” he said.

Furthermore, Jammeh emphasized that the APRC executive could not independently decide on programs or initiatives without the approval of the council of elders and chairmen. He called on National Assembly Members affiliated with the party to actively participate in executive meetings, emphasizing their integral role in the decision-making process.

“The National Assembly members also should play an active role in the meetings of the executives because they are part of the executive. I’m not saying when they are in session at the national assembly, but when they are not there, they should attend meetings. This is a sacred duty. For 22 years, we have made sure that when we have meetings of the executive of the APRC everybody comes. 

In a stern directive, Jammeh reiterated that anyone aspiring to be a flag bearer should create their own political party rather than seeking candidacy within the APRC.

“When I call for a meeting, sometimes they also go and have their own meeting and then come and inform me about it on a topic that we have already agreed upon. So this is the trend that is going to happen. We are not going to bring in any monkey changes to the APRC. It is not going to happen. If anybody wants to be a flag bearer, go and create your own party. Not my APRC. I want that to be very clear,” he said.

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