Victorious National Assembly member for Serekunda Halifa Sallah of the People’s Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism has said that he will be more influential as a parliamentarian than being a minister.

“I think the analysts got it all wrong when they questioned my decision not to take a ministerial position, because we are talking about building a new Gambia and for that to happen you have to build institutions and one of those institutions is the executive where I don’t want to be part of, rather the legislature is where I prefer to be,” he told The Standard in an exclusive interview Sunday.

Mr Sallah said his new role as a parliamentarian will avail him the opportunity to scrutinise and as well contribute immensely in the making of the country’s laws.
“I refused to take a ministerial post, because if I do so my ministerial colleagues may be doing other things that I may be adverse to, but I may not under those circumstances be able to scrutinise them because they are sovereign ministries,” he said.

He continued: “But in the National Assembly I will be able to scrutinise all the ministers without restriction and in this sense therefore winning the national assembly election is a greater victory for me and PDOIS.
“I must admit that having certain people winning in certain constituencies who may not be even PDOIS but can mount up certain scrutiny to ensure transparency and accountability of the government will also help in ensuring transparency and accountability,” he explained.

He said it is crucial that the party which holds the majority avoid abusing its power to create a partisan government.

“Because that is not the government we want to build after the defeat of Yahya Jammeh. We want a community that would be able to work together in the interest of the citizenry,” he noted.
Asked whether the PDOIS will think of changing leadership in the near future, Sallah said: “The reason why parties stay for long and leadership also stands for a long period of time is because of the weakness of the opposition. But in the new dispensation I am certain that democracy will prevail at least in the PDOIS”.