May 13, 2009, 7:48 AM
Halifa Sallah, Secretary General of the opposition Peoples Democratic Organization for Independence and Socialism (PDOIS) has opined that governance is key to the survival of every government in the 21st century.
Sallah, who is also the chairman of the inter-party committee under the Independent Electoral Commission, IEC, was speaking yesterday at the Paradise Suites Hotel during a day-long sensitization forum for political parties organized by the Female Lawyers Association of The Gambia and the Inter-party Committee.
The forum, held under the theme: “Temporary special measures to ensure women’s political participation,” brought together political party leaders, journalists as well as other members of civil society.
In Sallah’s view, “we no longer live in traditional societies, but in modern societies and in a modern state, a state which is sovereign and we have emerged to build a sovereign republic.
“So, we must also prepare the sovereign people for that sovereign republic, and that can only come through transmitting new values which will require new instruments and new institutions which will not drop from the sky,” he said.
According to Sallah, who was presidential candidate for the opposition coalition called NADD (National Alliance for Democracy and Development), “there were traditional norms and traditional institutions shaping traditional values in our country so that society will be organized in a given way, but today many people do indicate that these civil societies, NGOs and workshops are mere tools by western countries to transfer western values to non western societies.
“We need political socialisation to evolve a sovereign people. It is clear that our people as sovereign people are the primary makers of the law; that is why we voted to put into force a constitution; without saying ‘we want a constitution’ it will not be. So we the people are the law makers,” Halifa said, adding that it is the responsibility of all to make sure that what is agreed upon is commonly implemented.
“If we are all equal before the law, who will rule, and this is why representation comes,” he said, noting that those who are selected will rule and that requires men and women to participate in that process.
In conclusion, Halifa underscored the importance of engaging women in the administrative life of this country.