By Kebba Jeffang
The Member of Parliament for Serekunda Halifa Sallah who is also the Secretary General of PDOIS insisted that consensus was reached on the terms and conditions of the coalition as he held his comeback press conference on the 24th August at his party’s bureau.
“Consensus was reached on the terms and conditions that are binding on coalition candidature shall form pledges that each aspiring candidate will give before the national convention participants. We all came there and we told you at the national convention that we have agreed to three years. I don’t know why you ask the leaders this question when the fact is already there. The document was not signed by the leader of the United Democratic Party because by then he was in prison,” said Sallah.
He said the Coalition came into being as a necessity and 99.9 percent of the Gambians never thought that by the 2nd of December, 2016 the country will be changed. He said what changed the country is understanding of what was needed and what was needed is to know fundamentally that there are two powers in the country; the power of the state and the power of the people.
“The power of the state has been used up and utilized with impunity and imposed self-perpetuating rule. To bring about the change we needed the power of the people and that was inconceivable without the awareness of the people, without the organization of the people.
We decided to come together and I want this to be clear and I emphasize again that I was selected as a Presidential candidate. I called a meeting of Presidential candidates for us to be able to come up with one candidate because I was convinced that anybody who rejected that will be rejected by the people and you will be left behind and that’s precisely what happened,” he said.
Sallah said they have invited all the parties, the concerned persons from the civil society in the persons of Hon. Fatoumatta Jallow Tambajang, Singhateh and then the independent National Assembly members Hon. Magassy and Hon. Sanneh. According to him, they combined them and agreed to hold a Convention with equity regardless of who was the basis and then whoever is selected will serve as an independent candidate.
“I have made it very clear to the Diaspora that we agreed on a three -year term for that independent candidate. It is important for all of you to understand that without that agreement we will not have the type of Coalition we had. Most likely we might have gone on our separate ways,” he explained.
He said it is because of the agreement that they moved together to hold a convention and then candidate Adama Barrow was selected, won the election. He said it is important for Gambians to understand that when the incumbent resisted, no political party called its members to march to the State House to remove the incumbent. “That did not happen!” he emphasized. He said No ethno-linguistic group marched to remove the incumbent.
“I don’t want to revisit this history because when everything is plain there is no need to repeat something. But when other people try to turn the history into fiction you have to continuously repeat it. The repetition is no longer for those who understand, it is meant for those who prefer not to understand because it is a scientific fact that when falsehood is repeated unremittingly eventually the truth will become false and the false will become truth. That is a fact of history and some are utilizing that in order to reinvent history,” Sallah said.
He said they agreed on the 17th of October 2016 to come together to hold a convention on the 30th of October and to participate in an equal footing that person who will be selected will become an independent candidate.
“In that agreement we also established a committee on good governance, a committee on national convention, committee on democracy and rule of law, committee on justice and human rights, committee on voter education and national reconciliation, planning and finance committee and a campaign committee.
The Committee on good governance was charged with responsibility to work on the tenure of the flag-bearer and in that agreement we all agreed and it is already circulated, journalists have received that agreement. I don’t know why leaders are even being asked because the agreement is circulated and it is known to people,” he expressed.
The MP said the agreement says the committee on good governance shall draft a criteria of the office and the tenure of the flag-bearer which brought the consensus regarding the agreement.
Sallah expressed his respect for Dembo Bojang, Yam Secka and Alhagie Darboe citing that if they did not rise up to the occasion then history will not be a history of glory. He said to him, it doesn’t matter who takes the ownership of the glory as what matters now is history has been made and the Gambia has changed forever and it will never be the same again.
He concluded by stating that the final decision is in the hands of President Adama Barrow to decide whether to respect the agreement or not, but for them, they will not protest to demand for his resignation.