halifa sallah pdois leader and presidential candidate
Halifa Sallah

(JollofNews) – The spokesman of the opposition coalition that won last week’s presidential elections in the Gambia has refuted claims that they have discussed the fate of outgoing President Yahya Jammeh.

A few days ago, Fatoumata Tabajang, architect of the coalition told The Guardian that the new administration is blocking President Yahya Jammeh’s plans to resettle in his home village, Kanilai, in case he starts a rebel movement.

Mr Jammeh had the “bunkers and treasure” to start an insurgency and the coalition feared he could move weapons out of the country.

“He can’t leave. If he leaves, he’s going to escape us,” she said. “We are stopping him from leaving. We are negotiating. He said he wants to go to Kanilai. Any day he tells us he wants to go abroad, then we say no. It’s the presidential prerogative.”

She said the new government wanted him prosecuted quickly in case he tried to flee – although it had not yet decided whether to try him in the Gambia or internationally. The government also planned to rejoin the international criminal court – Jammeh withdrew the Gambia from it, so the president who once vowed to bury opposition figures “nine feet deep” could find himself at The Hague.

But Halifa Sallah who is a senior member of the new administration has described Ms Tabajang’s comments as a misrepresentation of the position of the new administration.

He said Mr Jammeh’s fate has never been a subject of discussion by the new administration.

In an interview with Foroyaa newspaper, Mr Sallah said: “It has been brought to my notice that in an interview with the Guardian Newspaper, Fatoumata Tambajang, a stakeholder in the Coalition, has been quoted saying that “the Gambia’s new rulers vow to prosecute the outgoing president. Her statement constitutes a misrepresentation of the position of the coalition.”

Fatoumata Tambajang, pro-democracy activist
Fatoumata Tambajang

He added: “At no time has the coalition discussed the fate of outgoing President Jammeh after the presidency. What President Elect Barrow has told outgoing President Jammeh in a telephone conversation that was in the public space was that he would be consulting him after assuming office, since he has knowledge of what transpired in government for 22 years.”

He called on stakeholders in the coalition to guard their comments and limit them to what has been agreed upon by all stakeholders to prevent conflicts of opinions and the derailing of the transition process.

Mr Sallah said the Gambia is in a very delicate political situation and requires mature political balancing act to ensure the smooth transfer of power..

“The election results show very clearly that the combined votes of the losers are more than the votes of the winner. This shows that Gambian society is still politically fragmented requiring great tolerance to avoid any friction,” he added.

“The National Assembly is still fully under the control of the APRC party requiring multi-partisan cooperation to conduct government business.”

Mr Sallah said the coalition is trying to earn the trust of all Gambians, including the security forces, to ensure a smooth transfer of power followed by free, fair and genuine national assembly elections.

“We have set up a transitional team and a road map on the modalities for the smooth transfer of power and  initiatives are also being made to engage the teams of the incoming and outgoing presidents so that they would work out the modalities for the peaceful transfer of power,” he added.