By Yankuba Jallow
Honourable Halifa Sallah, the Presidential Candidate for PDOIS said his party and its coalition partners have accepted the results of the December 4th presidential elections.
Sallah mentioned this on Monday evening at PDOIS headquarters, Churchill Town.
The Independent Electoral Commission declared President Adama Barrow as duly elected President to serve until 2026. Sallah got 32,435 of the votes casted.
“Now that it is entrusted to President Adama Barrow, we [PDOIS and its coalition partners] would say that we are here at any time he needs any advice that will facilitate the development of our country,” Sallah said.
He added: “We are here for the nation.”
He called on PDOIS supporters not to allow themselves to be used by any party to go against another.
“Follow the PDOIS agenda. You the PDOIS supporters be unifiers of the nation and not dividers of the nation,” Sallah Emphasized.
He said PDOIS has only one fight which is against poverty, ignorance and injustice, adding a supporter of PDOIS should not engage in any other fight other than this.
Sallah said he won’t challenge the elections results before the Supreme Court.
He said the authority to govern the country shall be derived from the people and should be exercised to promote their general welfare.
“If elections were a football, then there will be winners and losers, but election is not a football match. It is the sovereign authority of the people – who entrust their power and authority to anyone – and that authority should be utilised to promote liberty and prosperity of our people,” he said.
He said the press conference was called upon to examine the elections process and indicate how PDOIS and it’s partners see it, and how they conceive the verdict of the people.
Sallah cited section 26 of the Constitution which provides “Every citizen of The Gambia of full age and capacity shall have the right, without unreasonable restrictions to take part in the conduct of public affairs, directly or through freely chosen representatives; and to vote and stand for elections at genuine periodic elections for public office, which election shall be by universal and equal suffrage and be held by secret ballot.”
He explained that PDOIS participated in the 2021 elections based on the mandate of the Constitution. He said the Independent Electoral Commission have declared President Adama Barrow as duly elected in the elections.
He cited section 49 of the Constitution which states:
“Any registered political party which has participated in the Presidential election or an independent candidate who has participated in such an election may apply to the Supreme Court to determine the validity of the election of a President By filing a petition within ten days of the declaration of the result of the election.”
“I wish to note that we have consulted our polling agents and we do not have any substantial evidence that we can present before the Supreme Court to challenge the validity of the Presidential election,” he said.
He added: “In that regard, as a Coalition, we cannot really say within 10 days that we are going to present anything before the Supreme Court to challenge the validity of the elections.”
On the elections, he said: “We never believed that we had to essentially win an election. That is your duty as a people to determine who should govern you. And none of us should wish that you must win an election.”
However, Sallah said PDOIS’ System Change Agenda was duly conveyed to the people.
“The seed of System Change has been implanted,” Sallah said.
He said the message has been delivered countrywide and the people accepted it.
“Why they voted the way they voted is not something I have the prerogative to inquire into. Their vote is their voice. It is for us to accept their decision,” Sallah said.
Sallah said PDOIS and its Coalition partners are convinced that the message that was delivered to the people was accepted as solution to their problem.
“I must say we are victors [and] not losers,” Sallah said.
He said in December 2016, they laid their lives for the Gambian people to be free to take charge of their destiny. He added that they struggled for the people to take back their country- take back their power.
“Your destiny is in your own hands,” Sallah said.
He said the 2021 elections was the last hurdle for the people to move from poverty to prosperity, injustice to justice and ignorance to enlightenment.
He said he cautioned people not to entrust their country in an uninformed way. He explained that Africa went through coup d’état era by mercenaries who were ready to sell their birth right to people who were only interested in money.
“They sold their diamonds, sold their gold and sold their resources to people who were only interested in money. This is why poverty is still entrenched,” he said.
Sallah said he was cautioning the people that democracy could only thrive under the sovereignty of a people who are dignified and who would not allow themselves to be induced or intimidated by anybody under the face of the earth.
“But if we surrender our democracy to dalasi [referring to money], ultimately there are people in the world – billionaires- who are ready to take oceans, minerals, everything that a country has by financing elections and winning elections not for the people, but for them,” Sallah said.
He said the Gambian people have decided.
“Now you have to live with your decision. We have a nation to build and a destiny to claim,” Sallah said.
Sallah said the people should now ask themselves ‘who is the winner and who is the loser.’
“There are no losers. There are no winners. There is a task to be performed [and] a challenge to be addressed – the challenge of nation building,” Sallah said.
He said the Gambia has a youthful population and the young people are still searching for a destiny in their homeland. He detailed that the country should guaranty them education, security, job and housing to be able to build their families, raise their children and prepare a new generation of Gambians to take the country where we want it to get to.
He said the PDOIS policy (agenda) is clear and the Government may use it to eradicate the poverty of the people. He said the idea of PDOIS was to ensure we have a nation that everyone works. He explained that a PDOIS led Government would have established a Cooperative Bank to give interest free loans to people to enhance their production and productivity. He said the plan was to eradicate household and communal poverty in the Gambia. He said the rates, licence and all that is paid at the village to be put in the village treasury to be used for village development. He said the villages should have their treasury for their development.
“Every butut that comes from your village should stay in your village treasury. Every butut that comes from your ward should stay in your ward treasury,” he said.
He said Gambians are still living in huts and people still use donkey/horse to draw water from well.
He explained that Government should give regions and municipalities Equalisation Grants to be able to implement their projects.
Sallah said he has come to the end of time for representation, but that does not mean the end for his love for country.
“You will hear my voices louder, firmer and more determined to ensure that the forces of ignorance are defeated and nobody will be able to go to sleep in the Gambia. Even if you want to sleep, you will not sleep again,” Sallah said.
Sallah said he is not emotionally broken in anyway.
“In fact, I will be a calmer Halifa Sallah. The fire that was burning in me will quench today. I thought I could inspire you to refuse to take that rope of slavery and put it back on your neck. But since you have done that, the tears have dried in my eyes [and] now I will be calmer to see how I can talk to you to love yourself. We need to teach the people to have self-esteem.”
He said PDOIS and its coalition partners would continue to work together to help build an enlightened nation.
“We have the opportunity and after this let’s sit down and see the way forward. There is a way forward and we must search for it. We will discover it. We will ensure that we take back our country and entrust it, whenever it necessary, to people who would be able to address our needs and aspirations as a people,” he said.