Addressing a large crowd at a mass rally in Fass Chaho in Upper Nuimi District, North Bank Region, on Sunday, 6 March 2016, Halifa Sallah said a leader and government which did not guarantee the people that elected them liberty, dignity and prosperity does not deserve to be re-elected in political office.
Sallah remarked, ““It is only a human being who can do what we are doing now. No one has ever seen an animal speaking to other animals to find out how to solve their difficulties.
If a human being finds oneself in a problem he/she should pause and asks oneself why the problem and has to solve it (emphasis). If a human being ceases to use his/her faculty of thinking he/she has taken self out of human being and should go into the bush and live there.
One should value oneself with self-esteem; self-dignity because the human being is valuable and is above other animals who cannot think like him/her. One acquires knowledge, wealth from human beings. One cannot be above or below a human person.”
He added, “Halifa Sallah who stands here today is different from the Halifa Sallah who used to stand before you in the past”.
Halifa asked the crowd whether they understand what he is talking about.
He continued “The Halifa who stands before you today met death but conquered it and came back to life.
Halifa who stands before you today met blindness but conquered it and regain his sight.
And it is not a fairytale that I am telling you but reality.
When our party members nominated me as a presidential candidate, I was admitted in hospital and was being operated on a theatre bed.
At Wuli, a Councilor died and we went to pay our condolences. On our way back at Jappineh (Jarra), our car knocked down a cow and killed it on the spot. The front of the car knocked my face and an object pierced my eye and blinded me. I could not see anything around me and did not know what happen to my face. But I decided to stay calm and focused and not to be shaken. My mind was intact. I advised my colleagues to be calm and I was evacuated to the health centre and later admitted at the Eye Clinic in Serekunda. I asked my colleagues not to inform anyone about it in order to create panic among the people. None among these people who are here knew about it. I am here with you today with stitches in my eye which will be taken out later as it has healed now, as I can assure you, with a much better sight.
Now what is left in my life? I could have died there and then. Now what is left is for me to sacrifice my life for Gambia.
Whatever the Gambia is demanding of my life, I am ready to give it to our homeland.”
“I could have gone but I am here.
We are all here today because of a shared destiny.
The world starts with the nucleus family but when any member of this family is sick where is he/she taken to, but the hospital? You will not find there a relative or a neighbour but someone who will take care of you just as your relative or a neighbor would do. That is what a nation is all about. When we came here, we started from the main road and travelled up to here. We are celebrating 51 years of nationhood but where is the good road to go from Fass Chaho to the main road?”
“The learned people have said that a compound is managed as exactly the same as we run a nation. As every compound needs ‘depass’ (fish money) for the sustenance of the livelihood of the household members so does every nation which needs a budget to address the concerns of its citizens.
But where is this fish money of Fass Chaho? Where is the village Development fund? We have travelled the length and breadth of the Gambia but there is no village, town or city with a development fund. And every community should have a development fund. What should be known to you is that every community, big or small, should have a development fund.
Every sovereign person should know where wealth is derived from.
If it is said that you own a compound but you don’t have the power or voice to decide how it should be managed, then that compound does not really belong to you.
If it is said that you own a nation without power or voice to decide how it is governed, then that nation does not belong to you.”
“Some would be saying “I’m a nobody; I’m a poor person, I’m behind you,” and that one would be moving backwards until one falls into a hole and that becomes that person’s end.
A sovereign person should know who she/he is. The ballot is your voice and your power and that is why during the presidential, national assembly and council elections everybody including the president goes to cast their vote.
Why does he (president) not say, “I’m the lord as everything is under me, so give me all the ballots to put them wherever I want to?” That has never happened and will never happen. He goes to the table as everybody else, be it be the poor farmer, the worker, women, differently abled persons, each will go to the table and show your card and will be given a ballot token to cast your vote for the representative of your choice.
What does that teaches you? That we are all sovereign and equal and that whoever we want as a representative gets our voice because no one is accompanied into the booth, not even the president of the republic.
The mayoral election in Banjul is an example in which an independent defeated the ruling party candidate.
If one casts his/her ballot for a person, it means you have given him/her your power and voice and if everybody did the same then that person has the power to control the country, the wealth, commands the security forces and then that person can make life difficult for you and it is you the same person who again complain. “I’m suffering; I’ve no prosperity; liberty or dignity. I’ve no voice, no power, I’m behind you, I’m behind you, until one is buried in the grave.
The mother and child antagonism starts because of poverty and decadent society; the mother hates her child and wishes him death. No one comes to this earth as a bad person. It is society which makes or destroys a person.
When you vote for a president, national assembly member or a councilor, you should always ask them the amount of money that is in the coffers? How much is collected from the people? How is it spent, how much loans have been taken for development purposes? How much grants is given to the country?
If you are satisfied with their answers then when they come to ask for re-election and you are satisfy that your liberty, dignity and prosperity were guaranteed under their stewardship then they can be reelected, but on the other hand if they failed to address all these issues, the sovereign person has the right to elect other representatives and assess them using the same process until you elect representatives who serve your interest.”
Sidia Jatta, the Chair of the PDOIS Central Committee, who spoke earlier, dilated on the essence of nationhood, the importance of enlightenment and significance of sovereignty. He urged Gambians to know themselves, know their country and know the world in order for them to be the masters and mistresses of their own destiny.
Amie Sillah, a member of the PDOIS Central Committee, also addressed the issue concerning how people should cooperate with the men folk to bring about a Gambia that guarantees all her citizens, irrespective of gender, liberty, dignity and prosperity.
Yusupha Touray of Fass Chaho, chair of the village committee spoke on behalf of Upper Nuimi, the hosts, while Mr. Abubacar Jobe from Kerr Jarga, Ebou Jeng from Medina Seringe Mass, spoke on behalf of Lower Nuimi and Jokadu, respectively.