By Kebba Jeffang
The PDOIS Secretary General and the National Assembly Member for Serekunda Halifa Sallah said he will share the information and knowledge that he gathered from his tour of Europe with the relevant Gambian authorities.
Sallah was speaking at a press conference held on the 24thAugust at his office in Churchill town briefing journalists about the outcome of the tour.
He said he was invited by a Gambia organization in Norway to do lectures. He said the mission has nothing to do with party affiliation of those who sent the invitation. According to him, the inviters gave him a theme on ‘democracy, justice and reconciliation and development’ based on what has happened in the Gambia.
He said during the course of his lectures, Gambians all over Europe sent him messages to invite him to their various places. Among the countries he visted and delivered lectures are Sweden, Denmark, Austria and Germany.
Sallah said his discussion enabled the Gambians in the diaspora to understand their history which he said every Gambian must understand.
“Democracy is about belonging to a nation and rise above other characteristics and move to belong to a people,” he said.
He argued that if the Gambians were educated from the time of sovereignty the talks on ethno-linguistic, religion and gender would have been averted.
“I emphasized to them that as far as I am concerned I will not argue anywhere about tribalism. I emphasized to them that I don’t believe in the term racism and Islamism. We need to help people to understand the reality.
“If you look at The Gambia and you talk about tribalism, tribalism means the person is protecting the interest of a particular tribe. When people acted with hatred let’s call them haters, let’s call them bigots. Let’s call them any name but not to take a posture to show that they are defending the interest of a whole group.
“So throughout my trip, I have therefore affirmed that the new Gambia that has come about has to put an end to self-perpetuating rule after 52 years of just one person ruling the country,” he said.
The onetime Minority leader says people must become compatriots and utilize their collective intelligence to make sure the country is moved forward. He said reconciliation is not about tribe but it means people are equal in sovereignty and together and they must work to build The Gambia. He said past injustices in the transition must be remedied in a changed circumstance, adding that how to address that is what brought about transitional justice.
“The bill on Truth Reconciliation and Reparation Commission must have four fundamental characteristics. First, transitional justice must be curative, it must be substantial, it must be rehabilitative and it must be restorative,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sallah said the Gambians in the diaspora are challenged by lack of ambassadorial representation in some countries where they should cry when they have a problem. He said they also raised the issues of their disenfranchisement and disqualification of holding ministerial positions by those with double citizenship even whereas they have the competent and qualifications. According to him, he assured them that such demands will not be objected because when they were opposition they made such promises.
However, he said he urged them to organize themselves and petition the executive and the national assembly so that everybody can take it up together. He assured that he will consult the relevant ministries notably the Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Corporation and Gambians Abroad for them to look into the complaints as concerns of the Gambians living in abroad.
Sallah said he also visited and gathered material information about the waste management system in order to solve the Gambia’s waste management crisis. He said he will engage the National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) to identify a place where food waste will be disposed as this could be turned into energy anytime the country can afford it. He said he will also share the information with the energy department and the ministry.