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Monday, 11 November 2013 00:13(Opinion) – Halifa Sallah and his PDOIS Party are running the risk of being redundant in the struggle to remove Dictator Yahya Jammeh and in creating a new and progressive Gambia.
Many will probably agree with me that Halifa Sallah has been a great advocate for social justice and has been at the forefront in the “struggle” for the attainment of fundamental rights and freedoms for Gambians for close to four decades and in the process, he has educated and enlightened many through the numerous exciting lectures he delivered, his outstanding writings and electrifying speeches during political rallies etc, etc,.
Unfortunately for Halifa however, he is failing to realize that the world has moved on and Gambians are today more educated, more versatile, more exposed and travelled. Many of the early converts of PDOIS have moved on and have seen the bigger picture of for example not only drinking “ditah, kabba, bui and wonju juice” and or being engaged in fishing and farming in order to be considered as true socialist and patriotic citizens as PDOIS have advocated over the years. I even believe that today Halifa wears a wrist watch which in the past he had regarded as luxury and hence against his political socialist ideology.
Unfortunately for Halifa, he is today arguably being perceived as being arrogant, supercilious, pompous, and even patronizing in the way he reacts to many issues whether it is in response to people he disagrees with or in the way he expresses his opinions and especially the way he deals with and relates to his political colleagues (UDP, NRP, PPP, GMC etc) at home and abroad. To illustrate, Halifa will for example request that other colleagues from the other political parties give him a lengthy notice period and even produce a concept note before he can consider attending a joint party political meeting etc, etc.
I know that by saying this that I have opened a war front and I will not be surprised if Halifa decides to write a ten page rejoinder but then again this is precisely the point I am making. What Halifa can say in two sentences he will articulate in fifty sentences and what he can write in a page he will inscribe in twenty pages instead. What is the point and what is he trying to prove one wonders? Halifa must be magnanimous enough to understand that people have different views and dissenting opinions. By all means he can disagree with people but he should not shove it down their throats and impose his version of events and or his way of doing things as the only correct way.
I do not want to catalog all the recent exchanges that Halifa has engaged in the last 3 months lest I run into twenty pages of superfluous accounts suffice it to say that his rebuke and reprimand of Pa Samba Jow and co and the DUGA group for their demonstrations in the United States of America against the dictatorial and genocidal regime of Jammeh and Halifa’s subsequent exchanges with those who disagreed with his views leaves a lot to be desired from a man of his caliber.
Fortunately many Gambians have woken up to the fact that Yahya Jammeh will not and cannot be defeated by writing lengthy letters and rejoinders which Halifa is indeed an expert in. Halifa should give space to others and also collaborate effectively with Gambians otherwise he will run the risk of being irrelevant. He is running the danger of tarnishing the good image he had cultivated over the years as a man of conscience and a fighter for the underdog if he does not stop his unnecessary posturing.
I still remember how he almost lost his credibility shortly after the late Finance Minister Ousman Koro Ceesay, on that fateful Friday June 23, 1995 was executed by the AFPRC Junta in 1995 and his charred remains found inside his Mercedes Benz dumped near Jambur vilage and Halifa went on record to defend the theory of accidental death by burning (a version put forward by the then junta) and Halifa went on to state that he had even contacted the Mercedes Benz Factory in Germany to verify the likelihood of the possibility of the vehicle being burnt resulting in the accidental death of Koro Ceesay etc, etc.
I personally admired Halifa Salah and have interacted with him in the past on different fora and was always impressed by his eloquence, persuasiveness, tenacity and doggedness in standing for his beliefs but he should understand that Gambians are now tired of dictators whether using guns like Yahya Jammeh and or those using the pen and the English language to bamboozle and intellectually intimidate others.
Now by writing this piece I know I am asking for trouble from Mr Halifa Sallah and his die hard supporters. But then again that is the beauty of democracy. Halifa etal I am all yours to savage but for the benefit of the readers please keep it short and to the point.
Written by Papa Kumba Loum
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