By Kebba Jeffang
Halifa Sallah informed the media yesterday that by a majority the Coalition has decided to put up candidates at the 6 April 2017 National Assembly Elections under a party ticket. Speaking on Tuesday, 7th March, at Kairaba Hotel as the spokesperson of the Coalition 2016, he said the 8 stakeholder parties within the coalition have agreed on a tactical alliance.
He explained that out of the 8 stakeholders, 6 have voted to contest under party candidature, 1 maintained contesting as a Coalition backed Independent Candidature while 1 remains neutral.
Mr Sallah said, President Adama Barrow has convened a meeting of stakeholders in the coalition to discuss the impasse of the selection of candidates for the national assembly elections.
“It was intimated that the nomination of candidates is just around the corner. The president said as far as he is concerned both proposals are tactical alliances. He prevailed on the members to deliberate on the merits of the two proposals. The debate centered around two concerns. Some members felt that the independent candidature would lead to the destruction of their parties without increasing chances of winning seats. Others expressed support for independent candidature to remove the party which they claim could lead to voter apathy,” he said.
He said after long a deliberation on the issue on the type of candidature to adopt, it was put to a vote. “6 stakeholders endorsed the party candidate supported by the coalition as the way to end the impasse. One maintained the position that an independent candidature supported by the coalition is the most viable way forward. One stakeholder expressed neutrality. The stakeholders are to discuss the modality of selection on party lines today.”
Meanwhile, it was confirmed that the PPP maintained the independent candidature while PDOIS remained neutral.
Under questions and answers session, Sallah: “the position of PDOIS has already been clear from the very beginning when the discussion emanated and it is that “whatever the general body decided it is suitable to the party and this was declared the first day the discussion started on the particular dialogue.”
When asked about the issue of spokesperson which Mai Ahmad Fatty, GMC leader said he (Sallah) is no longer the spokesperson, he responded: “ Well I am here I think that is enough evidence to show that Halifa Sallah is the spokesperson. And I must tell you that brother Mai, these are people who have learned one or two things from me and it is not my duty to destroy people who I should try to build up for the future of this country. So there is really no controversy between me and Mai. He has his opinion and he has the right to express it and if it is found wrong well it is unfortunate for him because it is his integrity which is at stake not mine.”
“Now the issue of what happened in terms of a journalist, this is a civilized society, clearly a civilized Gambia where everybody is a brother and a sister. Clearly the profession one practices is for their life. You don’t even know what party people support. Journalists belong to different political parties, even on this table there are different political parties; so essentially this is a Gambia where we have political pluralism and people are entitled to support the party of their choice. When you are a public figure you have to be subjected to rigorous interrogation, that is not the right word but that is what it amounts to and if you don’t want that don’t be a public figure. And also for people to malign, attack and criticize you and essentially that is what the public service is all about. It is being criticized, scrutinized subjected to restraint so that you think twice about what to say and do because you are not speaking for yourself but to the public as a whole,” concluded Sallah.