Gambia: Fifth APRC Congress Slated for September

The much-anticipated Fifth National Congress of the ruling Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC) will take place in September this year, party officials disclosed Thursday.

The disclosure was made at State House in Banjul during a meeting between the president of the Republic, founder and national chairman of the APRC, His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr. Yahya Jammeh and members of the Taskforce Committee assigned to prepare grounds for the congress.

The TAC members, led by the Majority leader and National Assembly member for Serrekunda East, Hon. Fabakary Tombong Jatta, were at State House to brief the ruling party supremo on the progress report of the preparations for the congress.

The Gambian leader, in his remarks, urged the Taskforce members to intensify the grounds for the upcoming 5th National Congress, which is expected to feature prominently "Vision 2016 Food Self-Sufficiency Agenda". The president thanked the TAC members for what he called a job well done, while also calling on all Gambians to prepare themselves for the 20th Anniversary of the July 22nd Revolution.

The Gambian leader also welcomed the suggestion for the congress to be rescheduled, noting that this will give them time to set all the accommodation to high standard and to enable them send invitations. "I agreed with you and your suggestion has been granted and tentatively we schedule it for September," the president told them. Worthy of celebration

The Gambian leader used the meeting to underscore the significance of the upcoming celebrations, while cataloguing the mammoth developments brought to the doorsteps of Gambians by the Revolution under his watch.

"It's a great achievement that worth celebration for a government that was earlier prophesized to bring abject poverty and backwardness to this country, a country which is now even more modern than many countries. The Gambia is independent, we are dignified and nothing can compensate you for your dignity. It is not something that you can lose as a human being and only the worship of Allah will make you keep your dignity," he said.

Support to Vision 2016

Shifting attention to Vision 2016, the Gambian leader said there is no harm in being a farmer and stressed that the anti-hunger agenda "must be achieved".

"It is not about rice only; it's about whatever we consume in this country. I want to make sure that whatever we put in place in the country, everybody benefits from it. In order to lift ourselves from poverty, we have to make a choice. There is no way you can go to heaven without worshipping Allah, and He is the most merciful. So also you cannot expect to get rid of poverty by doing nothing," he stressed, while paying glowing tribute to Gambian women for their hard work.

Speaking earlier, the Majority leader, who also doubles as the chairman of the Taskforce thanked President Jammeh for the trust and confidence he bestowed in him to serve in the Committee. "We are here to update you on the progress made so far for the forthcoming APRC National Congress which was sanctioned by you [the president and party chairman] as well as to get your guidance and blessings for the way forward," he told the Gambian leader.

Hon. Jatta equally used the opportunity to thank the secretary general, Momodou Sabally, who also doubles as secretary general of the APRC party and Minister Fatou Lamin Faye, the fundraising chair for the upcoming congress, for their tremendous insights, guidance and advice to the Taskforce. Presenting the Taskforce's report, the secretary to the Taskforce, Dodou Kebbeh, thanked the president for entrusting them an assignment he described as "noble". He said: "The taskforce submitted to you a 30-member committee of eminent citizens across the board to form the National Organising Committee and we also submitted a Draft Concept Note which you have graciously approved already including a programme of three congress sensitisations which have added a lot of impetus as to what type of congress we want to convene."

Kebbeh further reported that all the committees set up to coordinate specific thematic areas assigned to them in ensuring the successful hosting of the congress is ready. "We are now waiting for your further directive as to how we should go about it. We have also recently received approval to proceed with our plans for the 20th-23 June. We have dispatched a fact-finding mission to the ground and the feedback reports we got were that the venue is not quite ready and in light of all these, we thought it prudent that we consult you for further guidance and approval. The Taskforce in its last meeting suggested that the earlier date which is June 20th to 23rd be deferred," he further suggested on behalf of the Taskforce. Minister Momodou Sabally, who chaired the occasion, also thanked President Jammeh for instituting the Taskforce to do ground works ahead of the congress of the great APRC. He added: "I am personally impressed with the seriousness with which they have taken up the task, the creativity that they have injected into it. I have followed them through the national tour they did in consulting the membership of the party. I was so impressed with what I saw. This shows the beautiful work they [the Taskforce] did."

Other speakers at the occasion included the ministers of Fisheries, Foreign Affairs and Health and Social welfare, Mass Axi Gye, Dr Abubacarr Senghore and Omar Sey respectively.

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