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Africa Going Through Transition - Halifa

Jan 16, 2009, 4:31 AM | Article By: Alieu Jabang

Mr Halifa Sallah, Spokesperson of the opposition National Alliance for Democracy and Development (NADD), has said that the African continent is currently in a period of transition but that the just concluded elections in Ghana should serve as a lesson to the rest of Africa.

"The African continent is in a transition period where all her countries have a duty to serve as role models to each other," he said.

In an exclusive interview with our reporter yesterday, Halifa Sallah, also a renowned sociologist, noted that this was proven and seen in the elections in Ghana.

According to Mr Sallah, the elections in Ghana have two major lessons to learn from, which he noted, is very essential in any democratic process of election.

The lessons, he went on, are to have a powerful succession to politics and the need for a constitutional instrument which put an end to self-perpetuating rule.

"The just concluded Ghana elections also proved to all of us that a constitutional establishment of a term limit can provide the basis of a level ground for a multi-party political contest," Mr Sallah, who is also the Director of People's Centre for Social Science, Research, Civic Awareness and Community Initiatives asserted.

For Mr Sallah, there is a wide gap between The Gambia and Ghana in terms of political maturity. "Here in The Gambia, there is no term limit constitutionally to pave the way for changes in the ruling class.

In his views, unlike Ghana where you can see a free Independent Electoral Commission that stands on its own to deliver its services to the expectation of the public without any intimidation and sacking.

"Ghana has been able to develop voter education to reach political maturity level that the state media and non-media give access to divergent views which is not the case here in The Gambia unless campaign period starts.

"It was based on these divergent views that the people of Ghana were able to concentrate on the intellect, character and values of the candidates rather than their tribe, place of origin, gender or religion," he further asserted.

He added, "In the Gambia, voters are still susceptible to intimidation and inducement in casting their votes and that is why Ghanian democracy is far ahead of The Gambia.

"The Ghanian people were able to replace their leaders due to mechanisms put in place. Hence any political party that governs will know that it does not have divine virtue to rule. It must adhere to the needs of the people for greater liberty and prosperity or be removed from office," Mr Sallah said.