By Tabora Bojang
The secretary general of the People’s Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism has described as indecent and retrogressive attempts to cajole chiefs and alkalolu into partisan politics as existed under the the previous governments.
Two weeks ago, President Barrow hosted a meeting with alkalolu and chiefs at State House, a move criticised as an attempt to politicise institutions supposed to be neutral under the constitution.
Halifa Sallah did not specifically mention that meeting but speaking during last week’s adjournment debate at the National Assembly, the veteran Serekunda lawmaker said attempts are now being made to restore the same politics which runs contrary to the creation of a level ground for multi-party politics in The Gambia.
Halifa argued that chiefs and alkalolu have defined responsibilities vested on them by the constitution which obliges them to be independent and impartial at all times.
“These people need to be independent and impartial. Save them from what has happened to them in the first republic, second republic and early days of this transitional government and now the same transitional government wants to enslave those seyfolu and alkalou and push them into political allegiances and therefore eradicate the very gains we have made in order to create a level ground for multiparty politics,” he submitted.
Mr. Sallah warned that leaders must not crave power to such a level they believe they could “do anything for it. The demand of the Gambian people is to be their sovereign selves, to own this country and decide who governs it and all of us must help them to affirm that sovereignty. It is the people that own this country, no leader owns the State House. No leader owns this assembly chambers here. We are all public trustees. So why should we crave it so much that we can do anything to get there? Who are we? How many people passed there? Where are they?”, he asked. According to him, the December election would present a litmus test to Gambians to either exist as a nation or perish.
“That is what we are faced with on December 4; decide whether we live as a nation and develop or disintegrate to become refugees,” he warned.