“We have not served 30 years of our lives for nothing”

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

One of Gambia’s longest serving politicians, Halifa Sallah, National Assembly Member for Serrekunda and Secretary General of Peoples Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism (PDOIS) has told journalists at a press conference that his party has not served 30 years in the country’s politics for nothing.

Speaking to journalist at a congested conference hall full of party militants, the veteran politician made highlights of his recent trip to Europe particularly London where he met with MPs at the House of Commons and House of Lords, Labour Party, had meetings with African Caribbeans, Diaspora Gambians, Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, technocrats, university lecturers and an interview with BBC among others.  He added that he also visited Belgium where he visited the House of Commons and Senate.

The press conference was opened with revolutionary songs sang by a women’s group from Wuli.

“We have not served 30 to 40 years of our lives for nothing,” Halifa Sallah told journalists.

He added: “We want to live a life fit for human beings”.

SG Sallah said Gambians with conscience know the need for damage control otherwise they will end up harming their own people by focusing on trivialities rather than the larger picture.  He cautioned the people who are putting the image of the country in disrepute to stop making them scapegoats.  He referred to them as ‘haters’ who would achieve nothing but the very opposite of what they are looking for.

“We need a new Gambian to be born who will be able to tolerate what does not favor one’s position,” Halifa Sallah said.

“You must be able to distinguish divergent views from malicious views,” he added.

Sallah said the new Gambian must be ready to face the battle of ideas between truth and deception without holding contempt.

“The message to our party members was PDOIS has emerged on one purpose for Gambian people to take charge of their destiny,” he asserted.

He said the role of the party is to liberate the people starting with the liberation of the minds. Party members, he said, were told not to be confused by those who failed to distinguish between liberation and cheap populist popularity.  It is their duty to travel the length and breadth of the country to tell people that sovereignty resides in them.

“We told them that the measure of success of PDOIS is not the number of seat we have in the National Assembly but it is how many people we have manage to liberate to know that they own The Gambia so that they become indomitable and nobody on the face of the earth will ever make them slaves,” he pointed out.

The NAM for Serrekunda said they were the only party in the first republic that has educated the country about a sovereign constitution, sovereign republic and a sovereign people.

SG Sallah spoke about the rejection of ministerial posts offered to them after the military coup in 1994 as they would never be part of any government that crucify the sovereignty of their country and its people.  He spoke about the role they played to push the junta to restore republican constitutional status to go to election in two years.  He added that they were taken to jail in the process but nobody came out to the streets in their defense.

“All of them were in their comfort zones but we struggled until the country restores the republican sovereignty and conducted election then all of them decide to take the lead,” he asserted.

The veteran politician said some of their party members contributed in helping these politicians to hijack the narrative to accuse their party of making a bad constitution.  He explained that the constitution was suspended when the coup occurred and decrees were put in place.  He added that they were not given the narrative but instead of bringing bad constitution as if they were the ones ruling the country.

“When all parties lost hope we decided to work with them to create coalition in 2006, 2011 and 2016 we managed to uproot power that was entrenched, a self perpetuating regime that nobody thought would be uprooted on the 2nd December 2016,” Sallah asserted.

“That is PDOIS’s history,” he added.

The PDOIS Secretary General emphasised that the people are more important than their presidents, national assembly members and councillors because they are the ones who elected them and can unseat them if they want.  He talked about the plans of the party to embark on membership, citizenship and law educations.  He defined regime change in the context of constitutional, electoral and institutional reforms among others.

SG Sallah argued that system change is not attainable in the transition as the country imports everything it consume for 52 years which he said cannot reverse within 3 years but added that the next stage of the struggle should be system change.

He spoke about the Attorney General coming with a bill to establish constitutional review committee to the National Assembly.

The NAM for Serrekunda spoke about the problems of detention without trial saying no government is fit to govern that fails to protect its citizens whether they are civilians or military personnel.

SG Sallah in response to allegations on the press release from the Office of the President labelling him as someone who finds it easier to criticize than take responsibility, he highlighted some of the things he did during the impasse such as his meeting with the Inspector General of Police and security heads to provide protection to the president elect Barrow and public institutions.

He spoke about talking to the Central Bank Governor and heads of government departments to secure documents and prepare for a new government.  He went on to say that he helped prevent the tampering of important documents and looting that normally happened when there is power vacuum as Jammeh left the country while the president elect was in Senegal at the time.

The Press conference ended with Sallah singing revolutionary songs with party militants. 
Source: Fatu Network

Author: Halifa Sallah
Source: Picture: Halifa Sallah