By Kebba Jeffang
Halifa Sallah, spokesperson of Coaliton 2016 has told the media at a press briefing on Friday, 23 December 2016 that external intervention can only come if Gambians fail to take charge of their destiny. He urged Gambians to stop worrying about what will happen if the outgoing president refused to give up power, saying unless Gambians fail to take their destiny they should begin to consider external intervention which he said will be a shame.
Sallah made this expression while responding to questions from the members of the media after presenting a statement on behalf of the president-elect Adama Barrow who was responding to remarks made by outgoing President Jammeh during his meeting with the delegation from the African Bar Association, featured on the national broadcaster.
He said people should understand that it is not the mission of ECOWAS to use force irrespective of the Gambia’s Constitution to change the regime. He said they know that ECOWAS members know the country’s supreme law and they are committed to the provisions therein which states how Adama Barrow will assume office in January after the expiration of the term of the incumbent.
“They know it and that is why they have taken a position which should not be distorted. This was why they came and suggested that both the incoming and the outgoing presidents should discuss how to transfer power, that is all everybody is calling for. It is only after we fail to take charge our destiny that others will take charge of our destiny for us and that is what we must avoid. Then rather than talking about the external factors we should be talking about this part so that we will not do anything that will make us to lose control of our destiny. That’s what we are saying. It is good for them to come to take part in facilitating the building of the Gambians consensus in solving this political problem,” he said.
“It should be clear that president-elect Barrow is not expressing preference but he is the president-elect and he is going to assume office in January and he is preparing for his inauguration.” He said Barrow as the incoming president has called on the outgoing president to open communication channel so that there could be peaceful transfer of power. He said this is his position and they are working on that communication irrespective of any outsider to facilitate the process.
“What we have said is very clear that if Gambians do not take charge of their destiny to build a Gambian consensus we will lose control of our destiny. We are talking to every Gambian in this including those in the opposition-to-be that if Gambians fail to take charge of their destiny they have no one to blame for the loss of control of their destiny. So at this moment our focus should be on ourselves, as what others are doing they are doing is based on their protocols. But for us our line of action is to counsel Gambians that it will be a shame to allow others to take charge of our destiny and solve our problems for us and that is what we want to make very evident,” Sallah added.
On if the Supreme Court ruling on petition favours the APRC party, Sallah responded president-elect Barrow is confident the he has won an election and he is confident that no court on this earth will rule the contrary. He said it is not about what the court will do but it is about his confident of the results of the election which were counted on the spots.
He said they wouldn’t speculate what the court will do, and that they would not hypothesize what the consequence will be as there is no need for that.
“We are telling the Gambian people to focus their minds on the inauguration as the president-elect won an election and he will be inaugurated in January. That is our message to the Gambia people,” said Sallah.
The former minority leader of the National Assembly said the losers have every right to concentrate on that but not them, adding that it is their Constitutional right to seek for redress. He said his government is confident that they have won the election and they are focusing on the inauguration. He said people should be fair enough to the coalition not to see them as capable of manipulation. He said it is good to see the incoming president as president with more authority and power than the outgoing president.
Sallah hopes that from the measures being taken, Jammeh will be magnanimous enough to agree to a peaceful transfer of executive powers to Barrow in January.
Meanwhile Sallah said all the fact-finders who met them talked to them about not prosecuting President Jammeh and counselled them not to use threats as well. He said they have been clarifying that in the highest level, adding they have always shown that the coalition must not adopt the practice of pretending to be prosecutors or judges and he believes they all understand that.
“We are not promising that we will not do this but we are promising to adhere to tested principles of jurisprudence and justice and we believe that when they go back they will convey that to the outgoing president Jammeh,” he concluded.