NATIONAL ASSEMBLY NOMINATIONS ‘We Want to Build up the National Assembly’, Halifa Sallah

By Rohey Jadama & Fatoumatta K. Jallow

The Secretary General for People’s Democracy for Independence and Socialism (PDOIS) has said that their duty isto go back into the National Assembly and build it up so that it can serve as the oversight institution.

He said   laws that will guide our liberty will be promulgated and policies that will ensure our prosperity will be elaborated. He said it is their duty to ensure that.

The renowned Sociologist was speaking at the Independent Electoral Commission’s KM Office after being duly nominated as a candidiate for Serrekunda Constituency for the upcoming National Assembly Elections.

He continued, “Some days ago a bill was taken to the National Assembly and after it was passed I wrote that it was unconstitutional and the Attorney General came and confirmed that it was unconstitutional”.

“Knowledge is not based on age, capacity is not based on age. If the young people want to take charge of their destiny, that’s why we have been training them to take their destiny to seek the type of knowledge that is essential to take charge of their country”, said the  Serrekunda Constituency Candidate .

He stressed that it is the duty of the young now to begin that process. He said for him,  the National Assembly at this very moment is a place  he is  destined to because it has been an institution that has been abused, transformed into a rubber stamp, enabling others to take charge of the destiny of the people and transformed our liberty and prosperity into our causality.

According to Mr. Sallah their duty is to go back into the National Assembly and build it up so that it can serve as the oversight institution that will ensure that laws that will guide our liberty will be promulgated, policies that will ensure our prosperity will be elaborated. It is our duty to ensure that”.

It was put to him  that many people  said  he is  an integral part of that problem because he is  an adviser to the president and he  did not advise the president on the amendment of the constitution but  kept quiet until it was changed and he  later condemned it and said it was unconstitutional. Halifa responded that   this is where the problem lies.  He said an educated citizen should always appreciate individuals who are helping them to understand what is wrong and how to right it. “If you are looking for the fault of others who are trying to rectify mistakes then we are in danger, we are in danger  of having a government which is not an open government, a closed government, a secret government. That’s why you have declaration of secrecy, that’s what we have   come out to change, that’s the past we don’t want.

“We want a transparent, open and accountable government. For an adviser is   an adviser. It is the president who is the Executive. It is   not my prerogative   to say what you are saying. It is the president’s prerogative to say why didn’t you advise me? This is a bad adviser, go away, has he said that? Why are you indicting Halifa  Sallah  when the head of state is not doing that, what do you call that? The head of state is not indicting that  individual and you as part of a government  you are indicting that personality so that’s what Gambian people should be clear about”, he said.

He said it is the president of the republic who should pass judgment on Halifa Sallah not Ministers, not the citizenry. “You should go and investigate  not from Halifa Sallah but from the president of the republic whether he has betrayed your expectations. Anybody who fails to do that, then you are not sincere. You want to mislead the Gambian people and that is what must not be done anymore, deception is no longer possible,” he asserted.

He said he is a calm person but he is no longer going to be calm. “I’m going to be a National Assembly member and I will not allow any deception anymore. Anybody who utters any statement which aims to mislead the people will be handled in the right way. It has come to an end,” he retorted.

When asked what he will do differently this time when elected into office, he responded that it is not about doing something differently but doing what should be done.  He added that because of their absence in the National Assembly that institution is no longer serving as an oversight body. “We are there now to build it up because we saw the way the government was run. We say there is absolutism of power,   there is self-perpetuating rule. We decided to confront that, put our party interest behind and personal interest behind to confront   self-perpetuating rule so that we change the government that was,   we have succeeded.  Now one more chance is what I need and I’m no longer interested in being a National Assembly member.

“We have brought the change that is necessary and we are now going to build a national assembly that will ensure that the change goes in the direction that the people aspire to build – one Gambia, one nation, one people whose destiny is in their hands; to build the sovereignty of people who will no longer be dominated by anyone, no longer be owned by anyone. That is my aspiration, to build that national assembly and I’ve finished with national assembly work, may be the presidency and there too if l serve one term, I have finished with representation”, he said.

He said he   should not be here at this time but asked: “where are the people who should take charge? Where are they? Let them come and take charge.  Am I interested in being a minister or being a national assembly member or being a president, no.”

Mr. Sallah said he sees those positions as positions of duty and “I will follow any person who at this moment commits himself/herself to handle those responsibilities in the way that l deemed to be mature and efficient so that anybody would have my support.

“Well essentially,   I have already   told people   I am not an executive presidential adviser. The executive presidential adviser is paid a salary equivalent to that of a minister, provided a   transport and security. Nobody sees me with transport, security or salary. I told the   president   and have been very clear that the type of adviser I could be is an adviser that is voluntarily giving words for him to   consider   not an obligation to seek my advice on any matter but if he does I will give the advice, if I see something I will take it to him. That is our relation at the moment. If he wants that relation to continue   I am   here forever serving that purpose. If he does not want that relationship to continue, he is the executive, he has absolute power to manage the affairs of the country”, he said.

Asked whether he thinks he  can win the seat, he responded: “Well for me to speculate will be an act of not being modest. What is important to know is that the people of Serrekunda has the absolute authority to determine whether I should represent them  and I believe they would want me  that is why  I am poising to be a candidate and if they do want me they will vote for me and if they vote for me they will not regret. You can see the road that the former government has changed and called another name.

“Obviously, I will change that name again to again   push that to the level of the national Assembly convinced the person who is Mayor so that we make sure the name of Sayerr Jobe goes back to that avenue. These are the issues that national assembly members would definitely offer their constituencies and   Serrekunda constituency will be offered such interventions so that people will know that this is why Serrekunda is Serrekunda.