By Kebba Jeffang, Foroya Newspaper
The PDOIS Secretary General and its Serekunda constituency National Assembly candidate Halifa Sallah says the Gambia could find itself back into dictatorship if the government is not properly directed by competent National Assembly members.
Sallah, who concluded his nation-wide tour meeting the electorate stressed the importance of the national assembly and carried the same message throughout the tour. The tour began on the 29th March in the Upper Nuimi in the North Bank Region and ended on the 2nd April, in Lamin, West Coast Region.
“It is a tradition in politics for politicians to seek for the mandate from their electorate when elections are approaching. This is what we are doing,” he said.
He informed his supporters across the country that the government has 3 branches in which the executive is charged with responsibility of handling state resources in order to create development for the people through different ministries.
He added that: “Members of the National Assembly are mandated to make laws and to guide the President along the right way whenever he or she should go. So it is very important to fill the assembly with experienced and knowledgeable people who will not be controlled by the executive but can question the government’s policies and programmes in the best interest of the Gambian people.”
Sallah said he could have been a Minister which has more privileges and requires no campaign for election as a portfolio, but he decided to seek for National Assembly mandate to ensure that The Gambia doesn’t get itself back into what it was. “If the government is not well directed it can return to dictatorship or what is even worse than that.”
He explained that PDOIS has a programme that it intends to deliver to the Gambian people and they have been putting forward such aims to the electorate for a long time. According to him, the concern of the electorate has always been the call for unity among the parties in order to remove President Yahya Jammeh from power.
“This is the call we looked into and decided to put our party interest behind and then invited other political parties for talks in order to join our forces together and remove the then incumbent. PDOIS paid Kairaba Beach Hotel and called all the Presidential candidates for talks at Kairaba Beach Hotel in September last year. We agreed on the method of electing one person among the political parties involved and we agreed that the person will resign from his party and stand as an Independent candidate and he or she will serve for 3 years in office,” he narrated.
The former minority leader in the National Assembly added that he was shocked to hear from certain people that he is the enemy of President Adama Barrow. He said this cannot be true as the allegation is baseless. He maintained that no one can pass judgment on him except President Adama Barrow whom according to him never claimed or justified that.
“We declined the ministerial posts because we believed that we can better serve in the National Assembly. All of us cannot be ministers because if the National Assembly is filled with incompetent members we will either return to dictatorship or even more than how we were,” Sallah asserted.
On what led to the split of the coalition in the National Assembly elections, Sallah explained that there were two positions on how to contest one of which requires the resignation of candidates from their parties and stand as independent candidates for coalition while the other was tactical alliance which was initially only supported by the UDP and NRP on the ground that they do not want their parties to die. He said they ended up agreeing on tactical alliance which requires candidates to stand in the name of their parties. He said in tactical alliance, candidates will not go against one another and each will be allowed to contest in the respective strong holds.
“However, during the talks, United Democratic Party (UDP) insisted that it cannot contest below 36 seats of the total 53 constituencies across the country. All other parties have their intentions too, some 20, 25 etc. We always adjourned the meetings on numerous occasions yet parties are not reducing their intentions. We then decided to go and get nominations under our various political parties since there could not be agreement and nomination was due,” he said.
According to him, it is confusing to see that certain parties are using coalition symbol and a photo of President Adama Barrow as if they are standing for the coalition. He clarified that no party is standing in the name of coalition as they failed to agree on that. He advised the constituencies to disregard such claims as it only represents falsehood. He said such parties are not sure of their popularity which makes them to do so.
Secretary General, Sallah, held meetings at the following constituencies to campaign for PDOIS candidates: Upper Nuimi, Lower Nuimi, Jokadu, Sabach Sanjal, Nianija, Niani, Sami, Upper Fulladu West, Niamina East, Bundungka kunda and Lamin.