secretary general of People’s Democratic Organisation for Independence and
Socialism (PDOIS) has said he used his European tour to enable Gambians in
Europe to understand their history.
“I took the opportunity to enable them to understand their history; every Gambian most understand their history,” Hon. Halifa Sallah said at a press conference yesterday.
He returned to Banjul on Wednesday after a five-nation European tour that took him to Sweden, Denmark, Australia, Germany and Norway.
He was in Europe on the invitation of some Gambian organisations in Norway for him to discuss the recently solved political impasse and the current situation of the country.
“I was invited to lecture on the theme: ‘Democracy, justice, reconciliation and development’,” Hon. Sallah said. “They believed that I have the knowledge base of what happened here.”
On the Gambian history, the National Assembly member for Serekunda said every Gambian needs to know how that geopolitical entity called The Gambia came into being.
“I emphasised to them that it started on the 10th August 1889 through an agreement between the British crown and the French republic,” he said. “They agreed on the boundary and The Gambia became the possession of the British and the other side went to the French.”
Sallah said Gambians began to become Gambians in 1965 when the country attained the right to self-determination and independence.
“But we were still under the British crown and that was why we have the governor,” he said. “I emphasised that the governor symbolised the executive power resided in the Queen of England, sovereignty resided in a foreign monarch.”
“On 24 April 1970, a new Gambia was born, a new nation was born on that day, a new Gambian person should have been born on that day.”
He said from that day on, The Gambia owed no allegiance, obedience and adherence to a foreign power or state and each single Gambian became a depositary of the sovereignty of the state.
Hon. Sallah said he also emphasised to the Gambians in Europe that democracy is about the assertion of the sovereignty of The Gambia.
“When it comes to democracy, it is about belonging to a nation and you rise above the other characteristics and move to belong to a people,” he said.
“I also told them if we were educated at that time to know who we were, then people wouldn’t be talking about tribalism, Islamic state or gender dominance.”
Hon. Sallah said the people also need to recognise that when a president is elected, she/he should collect revenue and utilise natural resources in order to provide schools, hospitals, good roads and all other facilities to promote people’s general welfare.
“A government is not fit to govern unless it is capable of promoting the general welfare and prosperity of the people,” he said.
“As far as I am concerned, I wouldn’t argue that there is tribalism in The Gambia. I even emphasised to them I don’t believe the term racism, Islamism but need to help people to understand reality.”