“DECEPTION IS NO LONGER POSSIBLE” – Says Halifa Sallah

By Rohey Jadama

The Secretary General   of People’s Democratic for independence and Socialism (PDOIS) has said that deception will no longer be possible, that they have been patient for too long and they will no longer be patient with the truth.

“All presidential candidates for 2016 went on tour to sell their candidates.  Were they able to sell their candidates? They were unable to sell their presidential candidates, that is the fact.  Now if you can write fiction after success has been made, it is now time for fiction writing. People can now write their own history. Unless Gambians start to write their own history, they are doomed; doomed to tyranny, doomed to poverty because no single party or political party aspirant could sell to the people their candidate, that’s why all of them came to the negotiation table”, he said.

The PDOIS Secretary General made those remarks during a press conference at the PDOIS Office in Churchill’s Town.

“The   people told the parties, ‘unless they go and form a coalition don’t come to us’, that’s what they were told. Some of these people should tell their leaders what people told them when they were in prison, when they went to sell their candidate and party. Let them tell them the truth, PDOIS will no longer compromise the truth. We have been patient for too long and we will no longer be patient with the truth.  Deception is no longer possible”, said the PDOIS Secretary General.

According to Mr. Sallah, they sat down on the negotiation table sometimes with representatives and they had an impasse at a given stage. He said some felt that the other parties were isolated and were protesting and some felt that stakeholders in civil society like Fatoumatta Tambajang were isolated but that was a tactic of their own.

According to him, they felt to settle with a presidential candidate, they should have an idea of what is possible before they invite other stakeholders and that was done under the umbrella of Gambia Opposition for Electoral Reforms.  According to PDOIS’s Secretary General, to enlarge the representation they invited Fatoumatta Tambajang, and all other groups to enlarge the group and made it more holistic and everybody became a participant and continued the dialogue.

He continued, “Eventually we began the process of convergence , compromising until ultimately we all agreed that we will hold a convention and all parties and stakeholders will have ten representatives per region, seventy for all the regions and we will assemble at Kairaba Beach Hotel  and decide; whoever is selected will be accepted as a presidential candidate. He noted, “If some were so mighty, why did they accept? They could have left and gone their way and showed their might in politics but because the people humbled the mighty they had to humble themselves and accept the dictates of the regions and consequently we succeeded in coming up with one candidate.

“We agreed that the candidate will be an independent candidate so that we can take ownership of that candidate and the process and that was done. We eventually had a presidential candidate who was independent and we went to campaign, everybody campaigned for that presidential candidate”, he said.

PDOIS SG added that he will not disclose “the figures that PDOIS deposited for the deposit of the presidential candidate, what PDOIS contributed in the campaign, the funds that PDOIS mobilized for the campaign, if any leader ever said that PDOIS is the enemy of the coalition we will reveal what those figures are compared to what they have done. Then you will know clearly who the real enemies of the coalition are and who are the real opportunists and I am not calling anybody an opportunist at this moment but then when they again attack the integrity of PDOIS or me, I will also be stating facts and the facts will accuse them. I will not accuse people with insults; I will accuse them with facts.”

He said they “strengthened the campaign and got the ideas that inspired the population so that they can come together as one Gambia, one Nation and one people, where does that slogan come from? So that the sovereignty of our people will be affirmed and we will unite in sovereignty, communities of sovereign Gambian citizens, irrespective of our ethno-linguistic distinction, gender, religion. We implanted that in our campaigns to combat the dire tribalism that had emerged, provoked by Jammeh and responded to by those he insulted to a point that the society was moving more into civil war rather than National Unity.

“We used national unity as an instrument to unite the people so that we can effect the change that we have advocated.  If it was left to some other people that unity would have never come about and that change would have never happened.   We succeeded and consequently the incumbent initially by virtue of the composition and quality of the coalition, was overwhelmed and the world was overwhelmed. In the past, during the campaign of the opposition parties they were beaten, incarcerated to weaken them but in this instance nothing of that sort happened. Young people were properly guided, where they made mistakes they were corrected until we delivered Gambia on the 1st of December, 2016”.

He said eventually the incumbent refused to accept the results and took the country on a war footing. “In his latter statement he said he had annulled the results and said ‘I will not allow any demonstration.’ His anticipation was demonstration; [with] soldiers in the street, sand bags in the street waiting for the demonstrators, insults between ethno-linguistic groups  had reached a [high] level; they saw that any case could lead to threat [of conflict]. Knives, cutlasses were bought in preparation for self defence. Some even had identification tags so that you can identify who is who. This could have been put in the media it was the truth.

TO BE CONTINUED