lecturer at the University of The Gambia once said “Most Gambians listens to
respond, but not listen to comprehend.” This however, is clearly manifested in
the misrepresented statements and comments directed to Hon. Halifa Sallah by
the state and some people in the social media in responds to Sallah’s statement
captioned “The next change is system change.”
Don’t we need a system change as sovereign people? Off curse yes! We need to end governance of self-perpetuation, a mechanism that Jawara and Jammeh used to rule for decades at the expense of the tax payers and the sovereign citizen of the Gambia. This self-perpetuation can only be ended with a system change, if not the wishes and aspiration of The Gambia sovereign citizens cannot be represented. Let’s take just one example of self-perpetuation of the H.E Barrow and his administration: The Gambia despite complexity of governance in their early days in office, Barrow have to wait almost nine months for the constitution to be amended, to accommodate Fatoumata Jallow-Tambajag in the vice presidency, second top job in the political executive, despite unending calls by the citizen and parliamentarians to appoint a vice president. Dose that represent the wishes of the people; was she the only person capable of running that office?
Further, it is not a distortion of facts in my humble opinion and interpretation of Hon. Sallah’s assertion that “Nothing seem to have change to have improved the living standard of ordinary citizens” considering the current catastrophic and disastrous power supply in the country under the leadership of H.E Barrow. This undoubtedly affects the living standard of the ordinary citizen either directly or indirectly. Many Gambian businessmen and women involved both in small scale and big scale businesses, relies on electricity for their business to work in order to earn money to pay their rents, send their children to school, and put food on their tables. Does that improve the living standard of citizen, especially the ordinary?
As the mandingo saying goes “Naako baa jataa, amagfoogiitijii” meaning, when he say the river is dried up, he does not mean there is no water in it. Barrow and his coalition associates should be applauded for “giving the citizens their voice”/ freedom of speech and expression, but again democracy goes beyond freedom of speech and expression, but also devising policies and programmes that represent the wishes and aspiration of all Gambians, regardless of their party affiliations, and place of residence.
In addition, the statement from the Office of the President that “it is easier for Hon. Halifa Sallah to criticize than take a responsibility which he can be accounted by the people” does not represent a statesman like Hon. Halifa Sallah hands down!
In facts, Sallah’s statement in question, is more than taking a responsibility which the people can account him for as a statesman, head of a political party, and a parliamentarian as well. Among his work as a parliamentarian, is to critically scrutinize public officer holders and the political executive to serve the best interest of the country, he rejected the cabinet post as he once told the journalists that the decision was based on party principles and the facts that in the National Assembly he can scrutinize all areas of development pertaining the state, it does not mean he doesn’t want to rule or take responsibility or be accountable by the people.
Madi Jorbeteh, a leading Gambian activist, called for the prosecution of Fabakary Tombong Jatta in connection to FTJ’s work as a parliamentarian in Jammmeh’s presidency and made a lot of allegations against the APRC and their MPs. Whether a citizen can call for the prosecution of his fellow citizen it left to Madi. What I can say is nobody can escape international justice, let the justice department do their work. In essence, is to tell people that Sallah is already in a position to be accounted for by the people as people’s representative.
I can assure that Sallah’s public enlightenment cannot be stopped by a human. Only Allah can do that because he was doing it in what many describe as a very brutal and dictatorial regime through his work entitled “the young should be told the truth” which awakes many Gambians and erode the parochial political culture of the people to stand up and fight against self-perpetuating and self serving governance.
Finally, we need people like Hon. Sallah and strong civil society whose democratic and constitutional activities can deter monopolization of power and self perpetuation.