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Don't Blame the Opposition - Halifa Sallah

Feb 2, 2009, 4:39 AM | Article By: Alieu Jabang

Mr Halifa Sallah, spokesperson of the opposition National Alliance for Democracy and Development (NADD) who is also the director of the People's Centre for Research, Science and Sociology has called on all and sundry to stop blaming the opposition, saying that it is the duty of all Gambians to accept or reject the options laid before them.

He noted that it has become a common saying in the country that the opposition is weak and should thus unite to be more effective. "Some are hostile to the birth of new political parties even though many people do not give concrete suggestions on how unity is to be effected," he said.

Mr. Sallah, who was speaking in an exclusive interview with our reporter over the weekend, described The Gambia's political field as a forest of thorns. He said facts have it that neither the opposition nor the ruling party can claim to be the undiluted choice of the people.

According to the NADD spokesperson, to form an alliance that is strategic or tactical, political parties need to work with the people to try to improve their own standards and approaches.

"Taking a look at the presidential election in 2006, only 264, 404 voters voted out of a total number of 670, 336 registered voters. In the local government election, the APRC had only 19, 078 votes while the UDP had 8, 412 in the KMC mayoral election, a percentage turnout of 21.4%. The turnout in Banjul during the mayoral election was 29.4%", he noted.

This, he added, was a two-way thing contest as no other opposition party cause a split hence the existence of voter apathy as the order of the day. "Taking a look at the political situation in this country, there is a clear indication that neither the APRC nor the opposition can claim to be the undiluted choice of voters".

For Mr Sallah, the primary task of any serious person who wishes to seek the mandate of the people is to find out why Gambian voters are not turning up to cast their votes. He also noted that the issue of multi-party system should be addressed. "If we want a multi-party system, then the Gambian voters should be able to review the records of all political parties and make a choice regardless of their numbers".

Turning to the latest development in the country's political field, Mr Sallah welcomed the formation of the new Gambia Moral Congress party, saying the move is highly welcomed.