Hon. Halifa Sallah in Gothenburg: Change – NewGambia or NewGambians?

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Reporting by MamaLinguere Sarre from Sweden, Compiled by Yusef Taylor, @FlexDan_YT,

National Assembly Member for Serrekunda, Hon. Halifa Sallah is currently on a European tour where he has taken the opportunity to engage Gambians in the Diaspora. On 10th August 2017, he held a meeting with Gambians in Gothenburg Sweden and Gainako’s MamaLinguere Sarre was there to capture the occasion. Here is a highlight of some of Halifa’s statements to Gambians in Sweden.

Jammeh’s tyrannical 22 years – “If you want to dominate a people, you must dominate their minds. Make them ignorant of their power and make them worship you. The 1994 coup changed nothing in the #Gambia apart from give absolute power to a few through the barrel of the gun.”

Change – “The streets could only effect change if the mass was organised to take to the streets but the masses were hopeless and disorganised.”

“Without awareness and education, there could be no change. The #Gambia has changed but the question is, did Gambians change as a people?”

“Gambians must rally behind the non-partisan slogan of One Gambia, One nation and One people to build the new #Gambia.”

Jammeh’s departure – “The people took over power at the ballot box and at the airport when he was leaving, the people saw their power. No soldier attacked them with guns and the man who controlled everything had to beg for us to clear the people for him to leave.”

“The clarion call of the opposition was to make it clear that after the 18th of January, The term of the incumbent ended and anyone that does not accept this becomes a rebel. The security confirmed to us that they will not become rebels.”

“Jammeh was left with two choices, either suicide or he leaves! He no longer had control of any instrument of government.”

Halifa’s Statement on Jammeh corruption – “If we start saying that things are missing, that is when things start going missing.”

Coalition Victory – “The alternative was to organise the people, make them aware of their strength and organise the political parties to maximise their strength. It is the will and determination of the Gambian people that compelled the politicians to negotiate and unite. By the end of the campaign, the force that entered the Kombos confirmed to all that change was imminent!”

3 or 5 years mandate? – “These are not constitutional but a gentleman’s agreement.”

Non-Partisan Cabinet – “What we envisaged was a cabinet that will not be aligned to any political party to build the foundation stone of the new #Gambia.”

PDOIS’s absence in the Cabinet – “We feel we have the comparative advantage in the National Assembly, that body can sermon a minister for questions, remove Ministers and even the President. The N.A. has oversight powers compared to a cabinet position that traps an individual into collective responsibility even if the person disagrees.”

“If we do not have control of the institutions, we will lose control of the people. We can’t let our divisions divide us, because division makes us weak.”

“We cannot claim that what we did is right but we did it consciously.”

MamaLinguere (L) and Halifa Sallah (R)

Healthcare – “That is the challenge of the present government. Adequate services are not being delivered and drugs are not available. Health was the only budget that was not revised downwards and the implementation of the health budget will now also be monitored by a committee at the National Assembly.”

Waste Management – “When I go back, I will be working on developing a non-partisan group to work on waste management. During my tour I have visited waste disposal institutions and I now have a clear idea on how we can solve our own waste problem together with the councils and central government.”

Diaspora – “Diaspora votes is a right, it must be demanded.”

“The Gambian diaspora must develop a platform to demand their rights, including the right to be enfranchised.”

“I would call on Gambians in Sweden to become organised through democratic means.”

Concerns on tax breaks for business start-ups and problems clearing goods at the ports. Halifa advised diaspora to organised and take the issues with the relevant authorities including petitioning their N.A. members.

Unemployment and Migration – “Statement of the returned back way boys “There is nothing in place for them in #Gambia” this is a crisis that must be addressed, it’s a national and international issue.”

“Europe is working on security to strengthen their borders. We need to build sovereign national wealth to guarantee the living standards of our people.”

“The government which is a transitional government cannot be expected to solve the youth unemployment issue, but it can work towards it. We expect this will be addressed in the government blue print.”

Tribalism – “There is no racism, tribalism, etc. There are hooligans who use tribe, religion etc to hide behind.”

“The incumbent insulted the biggest tribe, we had to tell our people that it was his ploy to divide us as a people. We developed a slogan (One Gambia, One Nation, One people) to unite and begin to build.”

“People we label tribalist normally come from a position of passion. The solution is less judgement, engage and nature. Let’s raise each other’s awareness, empower etc.”

Underrepresentation of Women – “The representation of women should be looked into. We maybe even need to have a proportion of seats in the National Assembly reserved for women.”

Relationships – “We must recognise 3 relationships – state to state relations, state to people and people to people relations.”

Halifa Sallah – “There is injustice everywhere. The just must rally to fight it”

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