“The coalition doesn’t want to assume power looking at dead bodies, destroyed properties and blood flowing like a river,” Halifa Sallah

By Mamadou Dem& Amie Sanneh

 Serrekunda, The Gambia 18 January 2017 – Mr. Halifa Sallah spokesperson of the coalition while addressing journalists said, “The coalition doesn’t want to assume power looking at dead bodies, destroyed properties and blood flowing like a river. The Gambian people do not deserve that.”

The veteran Politician made these remarks while addressing Journalists at a press conference held on Wednesday 18th of January, 2017 at Golden Beach in Bijilo.

Amie Korea member of the coalition and also responsible for the press earlier apologized for starting the meeting late as issues of National Concern propped up and coalition leaders were in the process of resolving the matter peacefully as mediation were still ongoing in order to persuade the outgoing President to relinquish power peacefully and hand over to President Elect Barrow as dictated by the Constitution.

Addressing Journalists, Mr. Sallah said The Gambia went through a peaceful electoral campaign and casting of votes with the anticipation that the sovereign Gambian people will like all civilized people in the world be able to effect peaceful transfer of executive power. On the 2nd of December 2016, IEC announced the results as required by Section 43 of the Constitution and Adama Barrow was announced as winner of the election and this is why he was declared as President Elect. He was congratulated by the outgoing president who promised to cooperate and effect peaceful transfer of executive power but later the loser decided to renege from his earlier position on the 9th of December, 2016 and filed a petition before the Supreme Court to contest the validity of the results. “The court case is still waiting to be heard, however his term had expired.

“The coalition emphasized to him that when his term expires the constitution makes it mandatory for President elect Adama Barrow who is elected to assume office,” he disclosed.

According to Mr. Sallah, the inauguration Committee continued to prepare for the Inauguration at the National Stadium and over one thousand transports would have come bringing people from all over the country to grace the occasion and all the ECOWAS Heads of State and many other Heads of State and government all over the world had planned to witness the historic occasion or send envoys and many Gambians abroad and visitors requested invitations to join in the commemoration.

Journalists from all over the world sought accreditation to cover the transfer of executive power. “Gambia was poised to witness the largest gathering of foreign dignitaries that the country has ever known to witness the transfer of executive power from an incumbent president to the incoming president for the first time in the history of this country. The preparation for the inauguration at the stadium was in full force by the time high level ECOWAS delegation chose to travel with President elect Barrow to Mali for further negotiation. ECOWAS Heads of State met Barrow and continued with their mediation efforts while the mediation also had the fundamental objectives of ensuring that the dictates of the Gambian Constitution is respected.

He said the loser of the election on the other hand filed an injunction so that the inauguration would not take place. The court processes were stalled as neither the petition or the injunction were heard because the judge recused himself from the case as he was made a party in the injunction. Hence the government could not stop President elect Barrow from being inaugurated on the 19 of January, 2017 by relying on the decision of a court.

“On the 17th of January, precisely two days before the inauguration the outgoing president decided to declare a state of emergency under section 34 of the constitution. Section 34 empowers the president and that is he may at any time make a proclamation to published in the gazette to declare that a state of public emergency exist in the whole or any part of the Gambia or a situation exist which if it’s allow to continue may lead to a public emergency they relied on section B which deals with if a situation exist which if it’s allow to continue may lead to a state public emergency”

“As far as the coalition is concerned when he unconstitutionally declared an annulment of the election as well as called for a fresh election, the coalition did not go in the streets because the coalition was confident that it had passed the stage of  being a protest movement; that it was a government in waiting and must wait for its day to assume office; so there was no threat to the security of the country and since then the supporters of the coalition were actually preparing for the inauguration. So the declaration of a state of public emergency exists only because of the creation of that condition by the incumbent,” he countered.

The coalition spokesperson however said it is important to bear in mind that the outgoing president is empowered by the said section to declare a state of public emergency which lasts for seven days if the national assembly is sitting and twenty-one days if the assembly is sitting; adding that then actually it is left with the national assembly to deal with the issue of prolongation of a state of emergency. He then made reference to section 99 of the 1997 Constitution.