The Mayor of the Kanifing Municipal Council and APRC propagandist Yankuba Colley, has debunked Senegalese press reports claiming that he has been arrested with a briefcase filled with money at the Banjul international airport on Wednesday, while trying to flee the West African country. “There is no iota of truth in such media reports. It is false and completely baseless. It is a figment of their own imagination. Why should I run? Run for what? I will live and die in The Gambia. I have no country other than The Gambia. I love Gambia; and I will live and die here come rain; come shine,” Mayor Colley tells the Freedom Newspaper in a phone interview on Thursday morning Gambian time.
A Senegalese online paper Senego.com broke the story on Wednesday afternoon by claiming that Colley was arrested at the airport with an unspecified amount of cash, while trying to flee from the country. The paper also claimed that Mr. Colley was taken into custody by the state.
The Freedom Newspaper received dozens of phone calls and emails from our esteemed readers, who asked us if it was really true that Yankuba Colley, was under custody. Some of the callers wondered why this medium did not report the story. We told them to give us time to authenticate the veracity of the news tip.
We contacted Mayor Colley on his personal cell phone, and he responded with an erratic voice. It appears that he was taking a nap. I introduced myself as Pa Nderry M’Bai calling from the Freedom Newspaper. The Mayor never hesitated to speak to me.
When I confronted him with the Senego story about his alleged arrest, Mr. Colley, was quick to debunk the piece as worthless and totally false.
“I was told that the Freedom Newspaper reported the story. They told me that Pa Nderry wrote the story. You know I am not on social media. Thanks for contacting me to debunk the false report. I am here in The Gambia, going about my business. I will never run away from my country. I will rather live and die here than running. The people circulating such malicious reports are just making it up. Please tell the Senegalese paper, which reported the story that The Gambia that I live is nicer than Senegal. I am not telling you that The Gambia is better than Senegal, but I, Yankuba Colley, love Gambia more than any other country. Let him know that,” Colley said while speaking in the local Wolof dialect and English at the same time.
Mr. Colley went onto suggest that his detractors are out to spread lies against him by making such a cheap jab at him. He said the incoming government should discourage such lies and blackmailing.
“ Now that they have won the elections; I do not know why they should be resorting to such misinformation. They should be happy and be ready to taking this country to another level than spreading lies. Today is my marital anniversary. I have been having fun with my family, and friends. I just had dinner. Pa Nderry, I will never runaway. I haven’t done anything that should warrant me to run,” said Mayor Colley.
The APRC propagandist also said he is not afraid to appear before any future Commission of Enquiry set up by President elect Barrow’s government. He describes himself as a poor man with clean hands.
“If they investigate me; they will not find any adverse evidence against me. I am a poor man. I am just serving my country. I am not a stranger to President elect Barrow. He used to come to the KMC prior to ascending to the Presidency. He is a Real Estate guy. I have nothing to hide. I am a decent God fearing Gambian,” Colley said.
The KMC Mayor also talked about filing an official complaint with Chambas of the United Nations. He said the APRC supporters have come under increasing attack by supporters of the opposition alliance. He alleged that his party’s supporters have been routinely exposed to physical mob attack, beatings, and harassment by the incoming government supporters.
“ I visited the UN building to file a complaint with Chambas. Our supporters are being attacked by the supporters of the alliance. These incidences are unprovoked. We have always prevailed on our supporters to stay indoors and avoid having contacts with the alliance supporters. Notwithstanding, the supporters of the alliance are raiding our supporters homes beating them. These is getting out of hand. They attack anyone with an APRC Green t shirt. They also vandalized billboards,” Yankuba Colley alleged.
Mr. Colley said he has filed similar complaints with the African Union, and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Colley said an ethnic conflict is imminent in The Gambia, if the new government fails to prevail on its supporters to keep the peace.
“ We are being attacked based on ethnicity, political affiliation and so on. That’s why I deemed it crucially imperative to alert the international community about what’s happening here in The Gambia. Things are getting messy here Pa Nderry. Our supporters are being targeted for attacks by a mob going around terrorizing the community,” he alleged.
Mr. Halifa Sallah, the Spokesman of the opposition alliance and also a member of the Transition Team was on GRTS on Wednesday, calling on the supporters of the incoming government to respect the rule of law. Mr. Sallah, clearly stated that those wearing t shirts purportedly bearing the alliance and are engaged in such unruly behavior do not represent its leadership. He denounced any form of violence. Mr. Sallah encouraged the alliance supporters to be clamed and avoid any form of confrontation.
When asked about the whereabouts of Yahya Jammeh, Yankuba Colley said: “ The President is alive and kicking. He is in good shape. Our party is stronger and vibrant. We are here.”
Mr. Colley doesn’t know if Mr. Jammeh will make a political comeback after been defeated by Adama Barrow of the alliance. But Colley argues that if Jammeh contest again, he will win with a landslide.
“ The President is widely loved and supported here. He has done a lot for this country. Pa Nderry, you need to come and see for yourself. The President represents development and peace,” said Mr. Colley.
When quizzed as to how comes that Mr. Jammeh could not win the elections despite the positive attributes given by he (Colley) to his leader, the KMC Mayor said he doesn’t know. He later said Jammeh lost the elections because of God’s will. Colley said he is optimistic that the APRC will make a comeback one day.
The opposition alliance could not be reached for comment on Colley’s allegations that its supporters have been targeting the APRC militants for violence.
Listen to the full interview we had with Mayor Colley on Freedom Radio.
Written By Pa Nderry M’Bai