Halifa Sallah responds to former MP Buba I Sanneh reminding him of his new role as a civil servant
By Tamsir Manneh
Hon. Halifa takes responsibilities based on the dictates of law..responding to damaging opinions , he emphasised that
"In a civilised country political leaders invite each other to debate over national and non-state media to clarify issues of national importance and may end up agreeing or even agree to disagree without trying to defame each other. Unfortunately, since my trip to the UK there appears to be a conspiracy to undermine my integrity by spreading false information regarding my conduct. Now that I have clarified all matters I do not know what tempted my old friend Honourable Sanneh to jump into the ring to repeat the same fabrications knowing fully that they would not be able to sway public opinion against me and would undoubtedly end up disgracing himself.
First and foremost, Gambians should be told that self–perpetuating power hungry rulers and political leaders rely on three things, to have an iron grip of the minds and lives of the people namely, ignorance, patronage and intimidation. Halifa Sallah has never relied on ignorance, patronage or intimidation to build a political support base. On the contrary, enlightening the masses is a lifelong task.
What then have I done wrong to warrant the tirade unleashed by Mr Sanneh against me? Having done all that was necessary to promote a peaceful transfer of power, I have made it as clear as noon day that the best role PDOIS leaders should play in the transition is to be members of the National Assembly because the function of oversight of a Parliamentary office carries more weight and goes with greater security of tenure than that of a Minister. In short, a President has powers to remove a Vice–President and Ministers but cannot remove a PDOIS National Assembly member. I continued to be the spokesperson of the President and informed the Public on Ministerial appointments with joy and made it clear that once the Ministers were sworn in my role as spokesperson of the President would come to an end and the members of the Cabinet would take the role of speaking for the government. We never demanded for Ministerial posts and the President was not put under any pressure by PDOIS so that he would be obliged to offer us any particular Ministerial posts. I have even mentioned that I tried to convince the Inspector General of Police to give protection to the newly elected president by proving that I had no vested interest by declaring that I would not even hold a Ministerial post when the Government is formed. All these things were done in good faith but Honourable Sanneh, like many others, is now trying to turn good deeds done in good faith into ulterior motives and has gone as far as to predict the failure of the government and further allege that I would be responsible for the lion’s share of the blame even though you have many Presidential aspirants in the government. This is an insult to all of them. It is claiming that, in or out, it is only Halifa Sallah who matters. This is utter fabrication.
First and foremost, Honourable Buba I Sanneh is not a leader or member of any political party. He is no longer a member of the National Assembly. He is now a civil servant working under the protocol division of the State House. What interest does he have in taking up issue with Halifa Sallah for challenging the allegation emanating from a dubious Press Release? He has not even alerted his mind to the rules, regulations and Code of Conduct connected with and determined by his function as a person working as a civil servant. This ignorance had made him to be making comments that are in gross violation of his professional responsibilities. I hope he will henceforth, realise that his changed status does not allow him to be making unfounded prejudicial statement such as predicting the downfall of political leaders in the media.
"Honourable Buba I Sanneh has accused me of rejecting the esteemed position of being a Presidential adviser because of ulterior motives? What is his proof? He has never spoken to me to get my opinion even though he claims to be a brother. The fact that he could assault the integrity of a person he calls a brother does not set a good example of the love, honour and respect due to brotherhood. His conduct does not permit anyone to be convinced that he did not harbour the calculated aim of damaging the reputation of Halifa Sallah before the eyes of the Public. I will not reciprocate. I will display political decency by stating the facts as they are to dismiss his allegations as fiction. I will also take this opportunity to further invite him to a debate on GRTS on the matters he has raised. If he fails to accept this invitation he should stop his provocations. Let me proceed to the facts, the public should know that as a thinker, I do not take National responsibilities without alerting my mind to the dictates of law, reason, conscience and the national interest. Many things transpired regarding the issue of Presidential adviser which should only become an issue if the President had made the subject matter an issue. I do not know why others like Hon. Sanneh would go so far to make this an issue. Hence I must clarify few points to lay the matter to rest. Allow me to explain the law that would have governed my conduct if I accepted to be a paid / official presidential adviser and then ask yourself whether Halifa Sallah should have accepted the offer. According to Section 169 Subsection (2) of the Constitution
"public servant" means a person holding an office in a public service, a person in the service of a local government authority, and a person in the service of a Public Enterprise."
If Halifa Sallah accepted President Barrow’s appointment as a paid / official executive adviser he would have become a Public Servant in the terms of Section 169 of the Constitution. In that case he would have had to be bound by Section 170 which reads:
“(1) A person holding an office in a public service shall not hold office in any political party.”
Hence, Halifa Sallah could not be the Secretary General of a Political party and still be an official adviser to the President. This is why I offered to be a voluntary adviser who would make myself accessible to President Barrow as and when he deems fit. The Public should ask Honourable Sanneh whether I have ever refused to respond to any invitation by President Barrow to give any advice. MY INTEGRITY IS UNASSAILABLE The whole world knows that PDOIS is in favour of a three year transition where National Assembly members would have stood as Independent Coalition supported Candidates so that we would put party differences aside and work to draft and promulgate a model Republican Constitution that would give rise to an executive, National Assembly, Judiciary, Public Service, Police, Military, Immigration, Prisons, Customs services guarded and guided by Media and Civil Society to ensure the consolidation of good governance, respect for fundamental rights, rule of law and the expansion of the democratic space for all sovereign Gambians to participate to determine the affairs of their country, without any intimidation or inducement. These state institutions would work in harmony through checks and balances and the exercise of transparency, accountability and probity to build a country that would be governed in a Constitutional and democratic manner with energy, water, sanitation, education, health, infrastructure and other services improved to a higher standard to add bonus to the regime change that people voted for on 1st December 2016. As PDOIS National Assembly members and party members we are still committed to this achievable agenda as part of a three year transition. This is what we call the bonus of regime change. POST TRANSITION After the three years all parties would then put their programme before the people to explain the type of economic system they would like to put in place and the civil , political, social, cultural and ecological domains they intend to bring about to enhance and consolidate the type of system the people endorse through free and fair elections. Honourable Sanneh should tell the truth to the people. He should tell them that some party leaders have argued that they must contest elections and continue to promote their parties during the transition to prevent them from dying. He should tell them that President Barrow has endorsed this. Hence we are now faced with a situation where parties should still safeguard the agenda of the transition while putting their programmes before the people as their post transition agenda. PDOIS subscribes to this regime change transitional agenda of Constitutional and institutional reform to Consolidate good governance, rule of law, Democracy, respect for human rights in the civil and political domain as well as the stabilisation and enhancement of the growth of the economy, through instituting financial discipline to prevent wastage; implanting merit based contract awarding and monitoring system in order to attract more investment in the productive base to promote growth, enterprise development and employment. Those who support the transition should undertake to achieve what is achievable within a three year transition framework. We have called on all Gambians and friends of The Gambia not to leave the transition to the President, the National Assembly members or political parties. They are asked to take ownership by criticising, scrutinising and preventing wrong doings which may derail the transition and take part in what will make it successful.
Honourable Buba I Sanneh is very aware that political parties are having rallies to promote the Post transition agenda of their different political parties. PDOIS is yet to hold political rallies but has had many activities to show that the party is alive and functioning like all the other political parties. The Secretary General of PDOIS has also been invited to a Congress of party supporters and meetings abroad. I have told people the beginning and end of the transition agenda of the Coalition and the System PDOIS intends to build after a successful transition that requires the support of all. We have said that we will create a system where private sector funds in the banks will be linked to the growth of private enterprises growth and their development through opening stock exchange facility that would expand to a sub-regional and continental scale to enable the Gambian entrepreneurs to be shareholders beyond our borders and benefit from the economics of scale. We have promised that we will build a robust public sector productive base which could also enter into partnership with the private and cooperative sectors to ensure the payment of dividend and royalties and the accumulation of sovereign National wealth so as to build infrastructure and ensure manufacturing of all raw materials into value added products to generate employment. Cooperative Banks deriving seed money from sovereign National wealth will provide seeds, fertiliser and farm implements to family farms and cooperative gardens; give finance to marketing cooperatives to purchase, produce and provide seed money to retailers so that small and medium size enterprises would grow to eradicate poverty, once and for all. Hence instead of giving land to others to take our women to work for them for others’ benefit those women would be given the input to work on a large scale and reap the benefit. The Cooperative Banks would give fishing trawlers to Fisher folks cooperatives and help in the establishment of processing plants to expand income and employment. We could go on and infinitum to explain PDOIS’ programme for system change after the three year transition. All parties and coalition supporters should explain their post Transition programmes and declare their commitment to the transition rather than divert the attention of the public by raising trivial issues. This is what the awakened Gambian population is waiting for. This is how matters stand."