PDOIS Holds Press Conference
Monday, March 28, 2011
The People Democratic Organization for Independence and Socialism (PDOIS) has organised a press conference yesterday at the People’s Centre at Churchill’s Town.
According to Halifa Sallah the Secretary General of PDOIS, the purpose of the conference is to inform the media and by extension the Gambian people, since the media constitutes the instruments for the amplification of the voices of the people on their sensitization campaign.
He indicated that they are not campaigning for any PDOIS personality; neither him nor Sidia Jatta, stating that they were sensitization people so that they can control power as determiners of their own manner of government.
He said political parties are instruments of political leadership, adding that political parties are instruments of political leadership.
Halifa informed the conference that they held major rallies in Kaur, Sami Pachonki, Sutukonding and Suukoba. He said the rallies were not political campaigns but sensitization campaigns, because in an election campaign one must have a candidate. He described the manner in which they were welcomed by the people of Sutukonding and Sutukoba as amazingly tumultuous, designed by the people themselves, which could be due to their past contributions towards the enlightenment of the people.
Emphasizing the need to avert voter apathy, Sallah said over 270,000 people have not voted in the 2006 presidential election. Instead of choosing a candidate for the people, he said, they have decided to go to the people to allow them to make their own choice. “PDOIS is interested in any transitional arrangement,” he said. He said that the Agenda 2011 is not a partisan agenda but an agenda of the people. He further said that people of different parties are promoting the agenda without hiding.
He stated that in our local languages, voting is called ‘sani karta’ in Wollof and ‘karteh fayoo’ in Mandinka. He said that our own languages have not encapsulated the sovereignty and the right to take charge of our destiny.
He said a citizen without a voter card has no power, because such a person cannot determine the destiny of his or her country. “As a sovereign country we should have a sovereign people. Once a sovereign people emerge no other authority can manage the affairs of this country without the mandate of the people. This is the challenge that PDOIS has assumed,” he said.
Halifa said by looking at the head of state and his people at the state opening of the National Assembly it is noticeable that something is shaking them.
Ridiculing the state’s claim of ownership of the 1997 constitution, Halifa said during the constitutional review exercise PDOIS recommended a preamble for the constitution of the Second Republic to guide its letter and spirit.
He said PDOIS made recommendations and campaigned for the 1997 constitution based on principles. He said they recommended for people to recall National Assembly members, checks and balances and the independence of the National Assembly. He explained that they have also recommended the removal of the president and ministers by the National Assembly if they violate the constitution, stating that there is no authority who have proofs of having made such recommendations.
He said if the constitution is theirs why they have amended the provision calling for chieftaincy elections. He said they have amended the constitution to the extent that the IEC chairman can be removed by the president. “If the constitution is theirs, why all these amendments?” Sallah quizzed.
He cautioned that anybody who sold or surrenders his or her voter’s card or vote on the basis of family relationship or other relationships is not a sovereignty citizen. He said The Gambia is a sovereign country and people have the power to elect leaders and not rulers. He said they have also explained to the people how the issue of monarchy contravenes the Gambian constitution. He said there cannot be a monarch in a republic and the constitutional provision that deals with the election of a head of state cannot be amended unless there is a referendum in which two-third majority of the registered voters voted in favour of it.
He said D4.5 billion (D4, 500,000) is supposed to be collected as tax to manage the affairs of this country. He said PDOIS is engaged in an uninterruptable campaign to ensure that every Gambian is liberated and become and embodiment of power.
On the Wuli East by-election, Halifa said that they will put up a candidate to contest for the National Assembly seat. He asserted that in their message to youths and women they made it clear that about 300,000 youths would be produced by our schools that should get employment to free their mothers from abject poverty. He said mothers should support change which will lead them to the exit door of poverty, describing the poverty situation of the country as living in poverty from the cradle to the grave which people should be weary of now.
Author: Baboucarr Ceesay