The graveyard silence at People’s Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism (PDOIS) HQ regarding the three/five years wrangle is of great concern to those who voted for Coalition 2016.
PDOIS Agenda 2016 is what eventually morphed into Coalition 2016. So, it is established that this unique coalition arrangement is the making of PDOIS.
Hon Halifa Sallah first pitched this to his counterparts back in 2011, but Ousainou Darboe and his UDP and Mai Fatty and his GMC were not convinced and walked away to have their mini-coalition. Motormouth Hamat Bah, who won the inter-party primaries, resigned from the NRP to lead the coalition as an independent candidate and pulled a modest return of 11% of total votes cast.
Fast-forward to 2016, PDOIS did cosmetic changes to Agenda 2011 and called it Agenda 2016. They initiated the Kairaba talks and extended an invitation to other parties. We were told they foot the bills and set the agenda to be discussed.
UDP initially favoured a party-led coalition but knowing Halifa’s rigidity and they were desperate to rescue half of their executive languishing in jail, they gave in to PDOIS’ Agenda 2016.
What most Gambians cannot fathom is why did Hon Sallah and the PDOIS executive reduce themselves to mere spectators at this critical point of our politics? People are overdosed by the daily dose of Barrow – Darboe, Barrow-Darboe, Barrow-Darboe. The type of coalition that sent Yahya Jammeh packing was their making, so we expect them to defend it each time the three-year transition is questioned.
Whenever President Barrow or his stooges at the State House remind us that the constitution says ‘five years’, so he must serve a full term, I find it insulting to Hon Sallah’s intelligence. They are basically telling us that he (Sallah) is not conversant with the constitution and failed to give it any consideration when drafting the MOU.
PDOIS’ lack of political activity and their Executive’s withdrawal from mainstream politics is rapidly pushing them to the fringes as mediocrity has now taken center stage. Their continued silence on critical issues might be punished at the polls come 2021. If old age is taking its toll, then is time to pass the baton.
In April 2019, PDOIS in a press release wrote “Since 2017 the President has exercised executive authority without the oversight of a coalition. Cabinet composition has been determined without any reference to a coalition agreement. National Assembly and Council Elections have taken place in 2017 and 2018, respectively, without any consideration of a Coalition agreement.”
From the above, we can deduce that PDOIS’ view is that President Barrow dishonored the coalition agreement and is exercising his executive authority. If that is the case, why is PDOIS still in the coalition?
Message to Hon Sallah
Please come out and tell us why you favoured three years instead of five years as dictated by the constitution. We also expect you to defend your reasons.
Shying away from this topical issue will not do you any favours. Since you resigned to the fact that the coalition government deviated from the agreed terms, it would be wise for PDOIS to officially withdraw from the coalition now or latest by January 2020.
Finally, please we want to hear from you, not party surrogates.