It is being said that ‘The Gambia Has Decided’, but The Gambia have not decided because there are still partisan politics, said Hon. Halifa Sallah, the recently elected National Assembly for Serrekunda Central, and then Coalition Spokesman.

Speaking during a press briefing held at the Peoples’ Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism (PDOIS) office in Churchill’s Town, Hon. Sallah said the Coalition was formed based on the desire for unity to effect leadership changes in the country, and ensure unity and development to take place.

“As long as there is no equality, respect for human rights and unity to work towards achieving common objectives, we have not yet decided,” he said.

Sallah said the experiences during the Parliamentary elections showed President Barrow playing partisan politics, with some parties using his image.

He recollected that the initial agreement they had was to elect both the President and Parliamentarians as Independent Candidates under the Coalition to support President for a three years transition, after which the President will not be qualified to contest as President. He added: “We agreed to elect someone who will not overstay in power, and will give chance after the three years for fresh elections.”

Sallah explained that the role of the President for the three years is to regulate the laws in place, and put in place new laws where necessary, and level the ground for election of a President after the three years. He said what this mean is Barrow may decide to resign at the end of the three years, if the agreements is anything to go by; and allow fresh elections, for a President that will go for five years, as per the Constitution.

“Our hope is the new beginning will lead us to the Third Republic. However, what we had was partisan campaign, as the President went for campaign, and some parties were using his image during the campaigns ahead of the Parliamentary elections. The nation is still a divided nation,” he said.

Commenting further, he said even though UDP dominates in Parliament, does not mean they carry weight in Parliament, as they do not form 2/3rd majority, which is needed for impeachment of President, though they can make laws. Considering percentages at constituency levels, he said they might win the seats, but that does not mean they dominate results of all parties in a particular constituency.

“Our priority is building new foundation for The Gambia, to ensure good governance, respect for human rights, however, we have not yet escape crisis. We have not yet escape the past dilemmas, considering the way things are moving,” Hon. Sallah noted.

“The instruments for parliament are standing orders that should be built to ensure transparency and accountability. There need to be a legal person to help build the legal instruments for Parliament to operate. We need to educate members of Parliament on the laws to enable them sensitise the people. There is need to build trust among members to avoid partisan interest to supersedes national interests. The majority in Parliament is the UDP, and they using partisan politics. We need to move from self-perpetuated Government, to building Gambia for Gambians. What we want is all Gambians to be winners,” Hon. Sallah said.

by Madi S. Njie (Oberver.GM)

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