Jammeh’s, Barrow’s Political Parties Form Alliance Ahead of Gambia’s Presidential Polls

Gambia’s ruling National Peoples Party (NPP) have formed an alliance with the Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC), the party of former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh, a move that human rights groups say shows the government’s unwillingness to prosecute the former ruler for alleged human rights violations.

The alliance, which was announced by the secretary-general of APRC, Fabakary Tombong Jatta, at a news conference in Banjul comes three months before the presidential election.

Jatta said his party had reached an agreement with President Adama Barrow’s NPP to support him in the December 4 presidential election.

He did not give more details on the terms of the agreement with the NPP.

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“Our goal is that former President Jammeh returns to this country peacefully and with dignity,” he said, suggesting that a return from exile of the former dictator in case of the re-election of Barrow was one of the clauses of the agreement.

Local media report that human rights groups have called the alliance a betrayal, and questioned the government’s commitment to prosecuting Yahya Jammeh. The findings of an inquiry into crimes committed during Jammeh’s presidential term will be presented to President Barrow in September.

Jammeh rose to power in 1994 after a bloodless coup. His rule of the small West African country lasted until January 2017, when he fled the country after losing the presidential election to Adama Barrow, a relative unknown at the time.

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A Truth, Reconciliation, and Reparations Commission (TRRC) was created by the government to investigate crimes committed during Yahya Jammeh’s 22-year rule.

Commission members heard chilling testimony from witnesses about state-sanctioned torture, death squads and the climate of terror that Jammeh maintained, including among his closest associates.

NGOs eagerly await the report, hoping it will recommend prosecuting the 56-year-old former dictator.

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