|PDOIS Secretary-General, Halifa Sallah|
The Secretary General of opposition, the Peoples Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism (PDOIS) foresees the end of Gambia’s second republic and president Yahya Jammeh’s era in 2016.
A third republic will be born in 2016, Mr. Halifa Sallah said. However, for this to be, it means the opposition must win the next presidential election scheduled for that year, even though international observers have said the president is sure to win every election in the country whatever the case.
“Gambia is in a state of flux,” Halifa said in a November 9 PDOIS statement he issued “On the political situation of the Gambia and the threat of an impending armed insurrection.”
|President Yahya Jammeh/AFP|
“PDIOS is willing to give guidance at each turn of the country so that our ship of state will anchor on safe shores. Those who want human rights protection today and change by 2016 should mobilize the people to give the opposition the power of numbers over the incumbent. No leader on earth has ever been able to defy the power of numbers,” he stated.
As combatants sit down to negotiate a peaceful settlement of disputes, Mr. Sallah said PDOIS supports the meeting of opposition parties to select a liaison to prepare the ground to draw Jesse Jackson to promote negotiation for electoral reform.
PDOIS’s former presidential candidate Hon Sidia Jatta is currently in Europe. The party said it intend to intensify registration of membership and diplomatic contacts to raise its profile as an alternative to the existing government.
“We do not have monopoly on how to effect change but we hope all those who intend to bring it about would not send the society into the Stone Age. We will not be a witness to such an eventuality,” Halifa argues. “The 21st century is the century of the sovereignty of the people is a proclamation sealed by history and it is irrevocable. Hence those who have reigned for more than two terms should find a civilized way to find an exit.”
“We call on those who aim to wage an armed insurrection to read our statement and take a realistic and wise decision that serves to consolidate the Republic and the sovereignty of the people. Anything less will be a historical tragedy,” he said early Friday.
The leadership of a Gambian National Transitional Council (NTC) launched in Dakar, Senegal in September 13, 2012 has threatened to lead an insurgency in Gambia and remove President Jammeh from office. A 30 day deadline given by the Dakar-based NTC for Jammeh to step-down expired on November 10, 2012.
There is a trend in Gambian politics which is promoting the view that the fastest way to change the Gambia, within weeks and months and bring an end to human rights violations, is through armed insurrection, according to Mr. Sallah.
Such people rely mainly on the social media mixing civil rights and military struggles by calling for protests and demonstrations against human rights violations and armed insurrection to end the Jammeh administration, he argues.
He blame the current regime for not creating an environment conducive to multi-party contest or the functioning of a human rights commission or rights groups and a free and critical media both at the state and non state level, which would hold government accountable to the people for violation of rights or mismanagement of resources.
“The outcry engendered by the executions did lead to concessions such as the release of prisoners but has not given rise to the commuting of death sentences to life as a commitment to an irreversible moratorium on the death penalty,” Mr. Sallah further argued.
“The government needed to show that it has the capacity to re-invent itself by addressing the major criticisms against it at home and by the global community and adopt a self propelled initiative towards electoral reform, enlargement of freedom of the media and ensure protection of and respect for fundamental rights and freedoms without waiting for mediators.”
Halifa said the Jammeh administration’s commitment to the standards of best practices in governance is still in doubt.
According to him, the politics of empowerment is about the power of the people in concert with the power of instruments, institutions and norms of democratic governance. Power must talk to power to effect democratic reforms and democratic change.
In his view: “Bearing a gun is not an affirmation of bravery. The gun is just a tool. Bravery comes from insatiable love of truth, justice and willingness to give one's life in their defence.”
He recounted the numerous sacrifices PDOIS made for the liberation of Gambian people from the 1st to the 2nd republic. He assured Gambians people PDOIS readiness and courage to do whatever is necessary to facilitate the liberation of the people.
This story was first published by the MarketPlace Business Newspaper on Nov. 19, 2012
Written by Modou S. Joof