By Buba Gagigo
The leader of the People’s Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism (PDOIS), Halifa Sallah has expressed surprise at President Barrow’s remarks about Sidia Jatta’s age.
“I was very surprised when I heard the president indicating loudly and clearly that they will make Sidia Jatta retire. Look at the people in the US Congress. Who is the president of the United States? Our president goes to ECOWAS. Who is the current ECOWAS parliament president? And that same president appointed someone above fifty to be deputy speaker. Some are serving as ministers in his government who are above the age of sixty and going to seventy. So I was surprised that the president would focus on age.
“That’s why I said no nation can develop; no national assembly can be fit for purpose unless there is an embodiment of people with knowledge, professionalism, and character. And Sidia Jatta is an embodiment of professionalism, is an embodiment of character, and Knowledge. So how could a president say he doesn’t want that person in the parliament? And that’s why I emphasize that any leader who does not want to work with a person who is an embodiment of Knowledge, professionalism , and character is not serious, and is not interested in development. So that is meant for him to change his template and know these coming five years will not be ordinary five years. He is going to deal with people with knowledge, professionalism , and character,” Halifa Sallah responded to Barrow’s remarks about Sidia Jatta’s age.
The PDOIS leader emphasised that he does not leave the parliament because of age.
“I offered myself from being a watchdog to be responsible for guiding policy making. The Gambian people have decided not to give me that responsibility. So I cannot move again from the position of being a person who wants to preside over the affairs of the nation, back to being a watchdog. That’s why I said since that is the decision of the people, let me accept their decision in good faith, and I will carry out politics in other means. Because I am a citizen of this country, a sovereign citizen, and my sovereign voice will be heard, even after I enter my grave. It will continue to ring in the eyes of the people, in the minds of people, because what I wish for poverty to be eradicated from our land,” he said
Halifa Sallah was speaking during a press conference he organised at his Bureau after attending the 41st session of the Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA) that took place in Strasbourg, France from 1-3 April 2022.
Five members from the Gambia’s National Assembly are part of (JPA) Assembly, but only Halifa Sallah and Alagie Sowe attended the session and discussed with their counterparts, trade issues guaranteeing access to the European Market for Gambian producers in the framework of new regulations arising from the green pact for Europe
Other members of the joint-assembly include Hon. Momodou Sise, Hon. Madi Ceesay, and Hon. Kaddy Camara.