Halifa Sallah: Fears on Government’s Composition not allayed

By Kebba Jeffang

The Secretary General of the People’s Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism (PDOIS) Halifa Sallah said on Wednesday, April 12, that his party’s fear has not been allayed considering one party’s dominance in composition of all sectors of government.

Sallah said this at a press conference he convened at the PDOIS bureau for the first time after his election as the National Assembly member for Serekunda.

“The objective of the Coalition as far as PDOIS is concerned is to put an end to self-perpetuating rule and build a democracy which will allow the supreme Gambian people to make an undiluted choice of leadership. This requires the transformation of instruments and institutions as well as practices. This is what directed PDOIS in terms of the National Assembly elections so as to fulfill that 3 year mandate to be the bright example of how self-perpetuating rule would be amputated for good from the politics of this country,” he expressed.

He continued: “What is now evident and the greatest fear that one had before, is political party influence to have undue bearing on the decision making process of the executive. So have we escaped what we wanted to escape? That is the fundamental question that the nation must address. What we as PDOIS feared was precisely that and that fear is yet to be allayed as we look at the composition of the cabinet, the composition of the National Assembly in terms of nomination of members and the composition of the Ambassadorial posts. So it means that the nation must be alert to who occupied what post.”

“And have we gone more into technical considerations rather than partisan considerations? Are they been filled by the obligations sought by the executive or the obligations sought by the people and the nation. These are fundamental issues to PDOIS and we want to put it before the Gambian nation as a topical issue,” said the newly elected NAM of Serekunda.

However, he said one problem that has been averted is the issue of threatening the executive in terms of legislative interventions. He said the National Assembly could pass a vote of no confidence on the executive but that could only be done with 2/3 majority agreeing. He said the 31 seats occupied by the United Democratic Party do not provide the legislative clout to be able to threaten the executive. According to him, the same composition cannot give any particular party to make any Constitutional amendment without being passed by the 3/4 majority of the house members. But he said with the 31 seats of the UDP, if all of them refused to support any bill in the parliament then the other members cannot pass such bills.

On the 3 year agreement transitional period of the President, Sallah said “It was our conviction that if President Barrow leads the example of limiting his own term then no other leader will ever emerge again that will go beyond two terms. So that bright example is what PDOIS has always focused on throughout the campaign to emphasize to the Gambian people that we were destined to build a principled political programme based on the foundation of building one Gambia, one nation and one people, to put partisan politics aside, ethno-linguistic politics aside, tribal and religious politics aside and any form of divisive or any form of parochial politics aside so that for the first time in our history we will build a nation.”