As the presidential elections draw nearer and political parties unveil their flag bearers, Gambians have been curious about who the former ruling party’s flag bearer would be.
Dodou Jah, deputy spokesperson of the Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction Party, speaking to NewDay at the APRC Bureau in Manjai Kunda, said the party’s pressing challenges with “raising funds” were one of the top reasons the APRC might not field a presidential candidate for the forthcoming polls in December 2021.
According to Mr Jah: “The very reason is, you cannot win elections without money, which we are working on and raising. And like I said, as we raise funds, we are also spending because work is ongoing. If you do not release funds, you cannot execute your functions.
“When elections are due or when they are nearby, we will weigh ourselves financially and how much work we have exerted to determine whether we would be able to go solo or whether we have to join other parties,” he said.
He also said the APRC was not being deliberately “mysterious” or secretive about its plans and political future, noting that all its considerations are being made pragmatically based on the availability or lack of necessary resources.
“We want to tell the people; it is not sensible that you announce a flag bearer but you don’t work the work, talk the talk and raise the funds that you need. You would end up putting up a flag bearer in vain.
When elections are due, you say no, we cannot do it alone. What do you do? You cancel your flag bearer and you go and join other political parties. Why the rush? Do the work first. Weigh yourself and know what you are capable of. That is what we are telling the general public. We are not desperate,” he said.
While Jah wouldn’t admit the former ruling party is now broke, his emphasis on the party’s need to “mobilise financial resources” seems to tell the story. It thus seems that the APRC would be keeping the Gambian populace in the dark a bit longer as to who their flag bearer would be, as Jah says the former ruling party, unlike other parties, is not “desperate”, and “has more preparations to make”, “and naming a flag bearer is not on its agenda as the party has not yet decided what its fate would be in the 2021 elections”.
Dodou would also not categorically confirm coalition talks between his party and the National People’s Party (NPP). However, he said the APRC would be satisfied to be “the kingmakers” in the polls.
According to him, whichever party APRC “ joins” would win the presidential elections, noting that he personally fancies an alliance with the incumbent NPP.
There are no indications yet, however, as to whether any other political party would consider an alliance with the APRC, given the issues surrounding its founder and former leader, ex-president Yahya Jammeh.
Key questions, therefore, remain unanswered; will the former ruling party even find an alliance partner? Will it contest on its own or not contest at all if it fails to “mobilize the funds,” the lack of which Dodou Jah speaks so persistently about?
Published 1 year ago on June 29, 2021