19th August 2017
Sulayman Bah reporting from Hamburg
Halifa Sallah has been calling for a new conscious Gambian in building a united Gambia.
He made this statement at a meeting in Hamburg on 19 August 2017.
His first tour of Europe following a democratic change of government for the first time in The Gambia has been a memorable one for delivering messages on ‘sovereign citizenship’, which he usually reinforce with his popular slogan ‘One Gambia, One People, One Nation’.
He hugged, shook hands and rubbed shoulders with hundreds of Gambians, European public officials, members of international institutions, political parties and NGOs. He posed for endless photo sooths, while video camera lightening glittered his face from one European city to another.
From Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Austria to Germany the message was consistent: He stressed the need to build an ‘inclusive democratic state’, to ensure constitutional and institutional reforms for the collective liberty, dignity and prosperity of Gambians, as a ‘universal culture’.
The Gambia`s December 2016 controversial presidential election, which was followed by an ‘impasse’ featured in his speeches and engagement with Gambians in every single city.
Known for his oratory skills and eloquence, Sallah dissected the state of affairs – The Gambia that was on the brink of civil war as thousands fled while ECOWAS regional intervention forces were on a standby to strike if talks had failed with Jammeh.
Though in some cities he faced some of his extreme critics, Sallah gave substantial responses as a tradition of his politics on issues, with well-grounded arguments on legal and policy materials. Also, Sallah`s rhetoric reflects his understanding of The Gambian society as a ‘sociologist’.
In Hamburg City Germany, on Saturday 19th August, Sallah arrived at the Helmut Scmidt International airport on-board a Eurowings flight. He was greeted with handshakes and embraced by the Gambian community delegation led by Alagie Jobe, Arona Badjie, Lamin Fatty and many more.
At the New Living Home Hamburg meeting venue, a good number of Gambians, Germans and Nigerians turned-out to listen to the ‘voice of reason’ as some call him. He discussed national reconciliation and unity, Gambia`s historical political struggle, deprivation of development under colonialism.
He said the New Gambia did not drop from the sky and added that “knowledge must be the property of the people, not the few, to build a genuine democracy.” Sallah says he has been inspired by diaspora Gambians’ determination in contributing towards the affairs of the county. He explained the collective role played by Gambians that brought a democratic change of government, which is not a change brought by a single “personality, party or ethno linguistic group.”
Sallah challenged Gambians to start consolidating their citizenship on the ‘basis of equality’. And, added: “We need a new Gambia of constitutional, economic and civil reforms.” He said this must begin with “a new Gambian as a conscious social being”.
The audience, including Gambians and a Nigerian raised the need for good governance, development, better healthcare delivery and women`s empowerment in The Gambia. They tasked Halifa Sallah to continue giving guidance to the Barrow government. Sallah is also scheduled to meet Gambians on Sunday 20th August in Hanover Southern Germany.