By Madi Jobarteh
This debate is about the role played by the political parties and politicians that formed the Infamous 2016 Coalition when they assumed political power in 2017. The debate is not about what happened and who did what before 2017. In my press interviews at the funeral ceremony for Solo Sandeng, I said the Infamous Coalition leaders and parties betrayed Solo Sandeng because they failed to implement the objectives that propelled Solo when they took office.
Furthermore, I wrote in my article, ‘The Grand Betrayal’ that these leaders in the Executive and Legislature failed to ensure good governance. Rather they allow corruption, illegality, and misrule to prevail in this country from 2017 to date. This is my claim. Halifa has not and cannot refute that claim.
Therefore, Madi Jobarteh did not divert any topic. Rather it was Halifa Sallah who sought to distort, dodge, excuse, mislead, and change narratives to cover up his poor performance as an elected official from 2017 to 2021. Halifa wants to continue to harp on the pre-2016 scenario just to trumpet himself as the messiah who came to save the Gambia, to take all the credit and then cast blame and sarcasm to everyone else. That was not the purpose of the debate.
Since 2017, I have vowed that I will never sit by to allow elected and appointed public officials and those seeking public office to go unchecked. I will not spare anyone who holds political office in holding them accountable.
I need not quote any single constitutional provision, even though I did, to prove that the National Assembly and its Members have a duty, and the powers and tools to ensure transparency and accountability in this country. Despite these duties, powers, and tools, the NAMs including Halifa Sallah woefully failed to ensure transparency, accountability, probity, and responsiveness in public institutions!
For five good years, Halifa Sallah has not held any public institution or enterprise accountable in the face of glaring corruption and underperformance, yet he was the Chair of the Public Enterprises Committee. An honest person will not sit here debating whether the National Assembly can refer issues to the IGP or not. (https://standard.gm/igp-meets-na-select-commitee-over-gff-tax-fraud-allegations/) That is a given for anyone who is familiar with the constitutional powers, functions, and role of the National Assembly. But if one wants to run away from responsibility it is when one engages in hair splitting arguments like Halifa was trying to do.
Therefore, the debate is about Halifa’s role in the National Assembly as it is about the role of each and every other member. In my submission, I maintained that the parties and political leaders that came to constitute the Infamous 2016 Coalition, individually and collectively, all betrayed Solo Sandeng and failed the Gambian people.
None other than Halifa refuted my claim and challenged me to a debate. Naturally that debate cannot ignore and deny the role played by Halifa Sallah. This debate is about accountability, and indeed I have held Halifa Sallah and all his colleagues in that infamous coalition to account.
So, the argument that Madi diverted the issue to Halifa’s role and person is totally misleading. Indeed, the debate is about him as a member of the infamous coalition and a member of the National Assembly. If Adama Barrow or Ousainou Darboe or Isatou Touray or any of them challenge me, I shall speak to their roles as well. Let them come!
I am utterly disappointed in Halifa Sallah because for so long Halifa Sallah and PDOIS have perpetrated the idea that they believe in freedom of expression; that they are people of conscience and honesty; that they only see and pursue and uphold only the national interest. Halifa has spared no effort, no space, and no time to pontificate about values of integrity, honesty, decorum, and decency.
Since he challenged me to a debate and I took it to him, it is disappointing that he was not only misleading, diversionary, and dishonest about issues in this debate, but he has also shown to be sarcastic, vindictive and vicious. His subtle and open attacks against my person and dignity in the debate, while attempting to discredit my life and role in this country totally contradict the decency that Halifa has touted over the years.
To hear Halifa basically ask, ‘where were you’ just to seek to undermine and discredit my role and contribution to the development of this country is indeed utterly dishonest, uncivil, and indecent. I cannot imagine that Halifa Sallah will also shout that same Adama Barrow hogwash, ‘where were you’? Yet Halifa knows who Madi Jobarteh is! I challenge him to be honest and tell his ‘Bye Faals’ who is Madi Jobarteh!
Therefore, to now PDOIS make this misleading and dishonest post is the height of calumny! If there is anyone to complain about this debate, it is Madi Jobarteh, for the vicious, disrespectful, and indecent attacks thrown at me by Halifa Sallah.
Not only that, since this debate, I have seen scores of PDOIS supporters take to social media and in their WhatsApp groups to insult, caricature and attempt to degrade my person and dignity and spreading false stories about me. It is such a wickedness to put words in the mouth of a dead person. Where is the decency that Halifa talks about? Are they saying PDOIS culture is that no one should hold them accountable? That no one should criticize Halifa or PDOIS even unfairly and falsely?
Solo Sandeng and Madi Jobarteh had never met, virtually or physically. We had never talked to each other in his life. I had no idea whatsoever of any protest to take place on April 14, 2016. I have never denied any political party, politicians, youth group or association to meet at TANGO. Rather I have stood my ground to not only allow but also to invite groups to meet at TANGO for the entire time I was there. What kind of human being could concoct lies around a dead person just to save a ‘leader’?
Of course, Madi Jobarteh is unfazed. Unbowed. There is no human being on earth who can tarnish the name and reputation of Madi Jobarteh, nor subdue the dignity and esteem of Madi Jobarteh. Halifa Sallah knows that, even if his ‘Bye Faals’ don’t know.
I have sent this piece to Foroyaa, and I demand they publish it as my right of reply to their misleading and dishonest story: Topic of the Debate, published today January 13.
For the Gambia Our Homeland