By Yankuba Jallow
The People’s Democratic Organization for Independence and Socialism (PDOIS) Congress delegates on Monday unanimously voted honourable Halifa Sallah as their presidential presidential candidate for the December 2021 Presidential elections.
Sallah will for the first time in his life contest as a PDOIS candidate. The party last contested in the 2001 presidential elections.
The congress is the second highest decision making body of the party and the Congress delegates are taken from all wards in constituencies countrywide.
PDOIS was founded with the aim of eradicating poverty, tyranny and social degradation 35 years ago. For 20 years, the party has not contested at any presidential elections and will for the first time after two decades participate under their ticket. The focus of the party in these past 20 years was coalition building to get regime change and they eventually succeeded in December 2016.
Halifa Sallah said what was achieved in 2016 was regime change with the intention of reform.
“The agenda was for reform. It was not a transformative agenda,” Sallah said.
The party came up with a Transformative Agenda (TA 2021) which is the party’s manifesto for 2021 Presidential Elections. TA 2021 seeks to bring about a ‘system change’.
In his acceptance speech, Sallah accepted the decision of the delegates for choosing him as the flagbearer of the party. However, he pleaded with the delegates to allow him serve for one term.
“If I am to accept your nomination, which I will accept, you will also accept that I don’t serve for more than 5 years as President of this country,” he said.
He said PDOIS will show exemplary leadership that power belongs to the people. Sallah stressed that the leaders of the country should show example.
“We will serve as example for others to follow,” he said.
He said power does not belong to the individual but to the people.
He added: “Why should we crave it to a point where we destroy property?”
“Power is not meant to oppress and coerse. It is meant to protect,” he emphasised.
He made the promise that if he is elected President of the Gambia and for months and years fails to add value, he will resign.
“We will be an example for others to follow,” Sallah said.
He mentioned that the task that lies ahead of him is a heavy one.
He said the 2021 Congress is meant to rebuild the party, all borne out of love for country and people.
The member of the National Assembly said “we could not enjoy life while our people continue to suffer in restlessness.”
He said none of them [referring to the founders of PDOIS] see office as a privilege, but duty.
He said they decided to establish a party when they were in their 20s adding when they were in their 30s and 40s a coup took place and those who were 29 took over the country. For 22 years of their rule, they are now in their 60s without the realisation of what they aspired for. He said this is why they stayed to accompany the people to achieve their desire.
Sallah reminded the people of his message in 2016 during the coalition’s convention held in the same hall when he mentioned he was only going to serve for 2 years if he was elected as a for the Coalition 2016.
He said he would not have changed his tenure from 2 to 5 years.
“I am convinced the example one can give in 2 years is sufficient to set the architecture of governance in this country,” Sallah said.
He enjoined the delegates and party supporters to maintain the politics with discipline. He said with perseverance the new journey seeking to bringing about a system change will be shorter.