Sep 3, 2009, 8:23 AM
addressing his first rally in Tobacco Road, a district in the Banjul North
constituency where he is contesting as a candidate for the People’s Democratic
Organisation for Independence and Socialism (PDOIS) in the forthcoming National
Assembly elections, Ousman Sillah said he is not seeking for a salary,
privilege and or prestige, but the mandate of the people to continue the
political work he has been doing for more than three decades now, without being
asked or paid by the Gambian people to do so.
“I was simply carrying out a national duty, and I’m now asking for your endorsement, the electorate of Banjul North, to serve the country at this level,” said the aspiring PDOIS candidate.
Mr. Sillah assured the audience that he wants to give effect to the true role of a National Assembly Member by being the ‘Eyes, Ears and Mouth (voice)’ of the Gambian people at this law-making and national oversight body.
The aspiring PDOIS candidate for Banjul North explained how the opposition came together, by putting the supreme interest of the nation and people before personal or partisan interest, to form Coalition 2016 which brought President Adama Barrow to office, as an independent candidate owned by all who worked for and desired a democratic and peaceful change.
Mr. Sillah urged the electorate to come together to put knowledgeable, honest and dedicated citizens in the National Assembly, to ensure that the government headed by President Barrow is guided to adhere to the principles of democracy, human rights, justice, rule of law and good governance.
He assured the electorate of Banjul North that, if elected, he will be a strong proponent of the Coalition 2016 Manifesto, to ensure the realisation of the election promises made by the eight stakeholders to put in place constitutional, institutional and administrative reforms that would build a solid democratic foundation for The Gambia after the three-year transition.
He explained how he had submitted himself, with the full approval of his party, to a process initiated by an independent non-partisan group and whose outcome he had earlier pledged to respect, even if it meant the selection of another candidate.
“In addition to discharging the constitutional role of a National Assembly Member, if elected I will dedicate part of my monthly salary to a Constituency Development/Support Fund for Banjul North, which will be managed by a committee selected by the people living in the three wards comprising the constituency.
“Being the National Assembly Member, my role in this committee would be to serve as chair of the committee, and a co-signatory to the bank accounts for oversight and accountability purposes,” Mr. Sillah assured his audience.
He added that the fund will be supporting initiatives in the areas of education (scholarship), micro-finance, women and youth empowerment, among others.
Mr. Sillah promised that he is going to open an office in the constituency, to be able to consult regularly with the electorate in addressing their concerns.
He thanked the elders of Banjul who graced the occasion, as well as the members of his campaign team and supporters.
Halifa Sallah, the Secretary General of PDOIS, who is also contesting in Serekunda Constituency, told the large crowd of supporters and well-wishers that they should be very careful, in selecting representatives who are supposed to be scrutinising bills, making laws and ensuring an accountable government.
He emphasised the importance of the National Assembly election as its outcome is going to determine the future of the country in terms of building a democratic foundation with robust institutions and good laws.
“You need knowledgeable, honest and dedicated representatives who are able to ensure the realisation of these objectives,” said Mr Sallah.
He explained in detail the genesis and reasons that motivated the formation of the Coalition and its objectives.
Dr Alieu Gibril Gaye, Chairman of Team Tahawal Banjul, an independent non-partisan grouping which was motivated by the Coalition spirit to promote the best interest of Banjul in terms of having quality representatives, also addressed the crowd.
He explained what motivated his group to support a process that allows the people of Banjul to democratically select their candidates for the National Assembly election through a primary.
“We want the best candidates selected by the people to represent Banjul and to help the city to be revived and developed,” said Team Tahawal Banjul chair. He added: “We are going to accompany them all throughout the campaign, and beyond by providing resources for their successful election and constituency initiatives.”
Speaking earlier were the two other candidates who are being supported by Team Tahawal Banjul namely, Mrs. Fatoumata ‘Toum’ Njai of Banjul South and Mr. Muhammed Ndow for Banjul Central, who both urged supporters to vote for the three candidates.
Other prominent Banjul elders such as Alhaji Mustapha Ngum and Alhaji Dodou Taal, a former parliamentarian in the first republic, urged the electorate to vote for Ousman Sillah, as he is the best candidate who can truly and effectively represent the constituency and the nation at the National Assembly, given his track record as a longstanding and selfless servant of the people. They pledged their full support for the candidature of the PDOIS candidate.
The members of his campaign team include the chair, Pa Sheikh Jagne, Ngouye Njie and Biran Gaye, as well as some residents of Tobacco Road namely, Dawda Ndure, Abdoulie Ceesay ‘Baba Line’, Ebrima Jarju ‘Ajeju’, Pa Jabel Sosseh, Aji Haddy Joof, Badou Njie and Nyang Njie.