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Sunday, March 7, 2021

3 or 5 years? Halifa says ball in Barrow’s court

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By Omar Bah

The National Assembly Member for Serekunda has accused President Adama Barrow of conspicuously evading the controversy surrounding his term of office during his State of the Nation Address.
Speaking yesterday during the debate on the president’s address, Halifa Sallah, who also doubles as leader of PDOIS, said the Gambian leader should have made a clear statement before NAMs “so that it became a special statement of his position”.

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He said while the Constitution allows for the resignation of any president, Section 65 also states that anyone who is constitutionally elected has a five-year mandate.

“If you elect a person based on Section 65 with an agreement that we all cherished, to save a nation, and the person in turn says now he is going to stay for five years, what are you going to do? So, it is left to the president to honour the agreement or the mandate of the constitution.

“You can only overthrow a government which you have no other means of overthrowing through the ballot box or a government that doesn’t create the democratic space for the existence of a citizenry if necessary.

But where a government can be removed through the ballot box, you look for the term limit established by the constitution and abide by that term limit and remove that government during an election,” he noted.

Sallah said the coalition’s three years agreement has been wrecked and cannot be reversed, arguing that it is only President Barrow who can redeem it by saying he will respect it “but Halifa Sallah will not come and give excuses for him”.

“This change was not a change for this party or that party.

It was a change to save The Gambia so that we will not lose this country because we were heading towards losing it.

So, nobody should look at the past and hope that we will return to it and nobody should claim to be the creator of the present because some were in prison at the time and needed to be saved,” he added.

Mr Sallah said Gambians should realise that the country is not moving forwards.

He urged the president to set up a cabinet working group to look into the appointment and termination of alkalolu and seyfolu.

“If they don’t do this, I will charge them with being politically motivated because of their actions.

The past must not be repeated. We will not stand for that to happen.

We must not encourage self-perpetuating rule.

That will not bring about peace.

A government that wants to be transparent will never engage in the past practices of just removing somebody and replacing him with somebody else,” he queried.

‘Military garrison’
Meanwhile, the opposition APRC National Assembly Member for Foni Kansala, Musa Amul Nyassi, has denounced government’s decision to transform former President Yahya Jammeh’s Kanilai family home into a military camp.

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