Dr. Ceesay, Hon. Sallah proposed political debate sparks controversy

Aug 3, 2021, 2:12 PM | Article By: Sulayman Waan

The intended political debate between Dr. Ismaila Ceesay, presidential candidate for Citizen Alliance and Honourable Halifa Sallah, presidential candidate for the People’s Democratic Organisation for Independent and Socialism, (PDOIS) has sparked controversy in town, especially in the social media.

 It could be recalled that on Sunday Dr. Ismaila Ceesay challenged coalition 2016 leaders to a debate over his claim they failed Gambians and contributed to the nation’s current predicament.

In 2016, seven political parties and an independent candidate formed an alliance against former President Yahya Jammeh’s government.

All coalition leaders took positions in the President Barrow led government except PDOIS, who rejected material offer and vied for parliamentary election.

However on Sunday, political scientist, Dr Ceesay defied the 2016 coalition leaders: “I am reiterating this: The entire coalition failed us by either deviating from the national agenda to promote partisan agenda and/or by failing to take responsibility. They solely contributed to our current predicament so they cannot be the solution.

“If any coalition leader disagrees, I am ready to be challenged in a public debate by that leader and the leader alone.”

Later on, Kermeseng Sanneh, alias Kexx Sanneh, PDOIS’ former executive member, engaged Hon. Sallah, PDOIS‘ presidential candidate. On the spot, Sallah accepted to take on the CA presidential candidate in the debate.

Speaking to The Point, Musa Baldeh, a Gambian youth, said debates are very important in educating the masses but added debates should be based on very key issues.

“For Hon. Sallah and Dr. Ceesay to debate on whether all parties who were part of the coalition are responsible for failing Gambians is not so important. To me, they should be debating on policy issues and the way forward.  Debating on past coalition mistakes is equal to beating a dead horse and having no worth,” he argued.

Baldeh said as long as the country is heading to election, all political leaders should have debates to ensure Gambians know their policies and programmes instead of debating about past things.

Melville Robertson Roberts, a Gambian, defended Dr. Ceesay on Kermeseng Sanneh’s Facebook post, saying “squarely, on the fact that every single member of the coalition failed The Gambia.

 “I am sure you know this is my absolute belief and I challenged you on this in Gambia last year,” he added.

Commenting on Kexx Sanneh’s post, one Modou Drammeh blasted Dr. Ceesay, saying the political scientist is just an attention seeker. “Without the coalition he won’t have formed his political party.

However, Sait Matty Jaw, political activist has a different view, he said: “This is the way to go. Issues must be debated and lessons learned. This will be good for our democracy.”

One Bakary J. Sanyang also commented on the FB post and said the political debate is a good move for the country’s new democracy but he added that he was expecting the duo to debate on policies they had and the way forward towards the next presidential election. 

“These are two intellectuals that should bail out this country, so I expect more from them than wasting their time on something which is not relevant enough for now,” he condemned the intended debate.

He added that the proposed debate is not going to earn us any good but a mere waste of time and not a plus to our advancement as a developing nation.

Arac Remes Pacobii described the debate topic as narrow. He said: “ I wonder how Hon. Halifa Sallah is going to argue being partly responsible for the coalition victory that defeated Jammeh but not the failure to deliver its manifesto.” 

He further argued that PDOIS sponsored the 2016 coalition and added in this regards the Hon. Sallah led party is responsible for its success and failure.

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