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“Halifa is a politician with a difference”: A chat with Kexx Sanneh
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“Halifa is a politician with a difference”: A chat with Kexx Sanneh

Niamina’s Kemeseng Sanneh, popularly known as Kexx, is the constant companion at Halifa Sallah’s side, joining him on tours and sometimes organizing his diary.  In this edition of What’s On-Gambia, he chats about his relationship with the PDOIS leader.

What’s On-Gambia: Can you tell us how you met Halifa Sallah?

Kexx:Sometime in 2012 on my way to Brikama at the Ebony Junction, PDOIS was holding a political rally. As I got closer to the car park, Halifa`s words were echoing through the speakers saying "we are all here today because of a shared destiny.”

I decided to stop for a moment and heard him reinforced in his modulated voice saying “humanity starts with a family, but when any member of a family is sick when he/she is taken to a hospital, they may not find there a relative or a neighbor, but someone who will take care of them, just as a relative or a neighbor would do.”

He resounded “that is what a nation is all about.”  Eventually, this further drew my attention to the rally. Halifa`s message on governance and citizenship which was delivered in an appealing voice inspired me. I had to delay my trip listening to him demystifying the status quo in a soft-spoken approach with idealistic facts. Since then, I developed interest in following his activities.

And what happened later?

I first sat with Halifa when I and my colleagues were pursuing a case against my former employer Capital Gas, a sister company to Gam Petroleum Limited for wrongful dismissal of twenty-eight of us in February 2013.

One Ebrima Manga advised me to see Halifa Sallah whom he believed will help us to have justice. According to him, he once had a similar case in which Halifa intervened to remedy the situation.

I then mobilized ten of us and we visited Halifa at the PDOIS bureau. Upon arrival, we were welcomed by one Lamin Njie, who took us to Halifa’s office. He welcomed us with open arms and asked about our mission, which we explained. He took out the labour act and explained section 44 of the Act to us, which deals with unlawful termination and asked me to come back the next day. When I returned the following day, he wrote a letter and asked me to take it to the Commissioner of the Labour Department, one Mr Barrow.

Halifa further advised us to espouse a case at the Kanifing Industrial Tribunal. And, promised to be watching and guiding us. He also introduced us to one Ebrima Cham, the Secretary General of the Gambia Workers Union.

We won our case against Capital Gas and were compensated. We decided to give Halifa D 100,000 for his support and guidance. The humble man refused to accept the money. And, told us that “it's yours, you worked for it, am just helping to see that justice prevails in accordance with the laws of the land.” From that day, I realized that Halifa is a politician with a difference.

 Has Halifa ever met your family?

Yes, he met my mum and brothers during my mother`s visit to my house in Latrikunda German. When I informed Halifa about my mum`s visit, one fine Saturday, he drove to my house to greet my mum and stayed for almost 45mins. He has also spoken to my dad on the phone twice. Also, he visited my daughter who was admitted at the Serre Kunda General Hospital in Kanifing. 

Do you think he can win the next presidential election?

I remain optimistic. Gambians are beginning to know more about him and they have more trust for him than any other politician. Amongst the current prospective candidates, none can match Halifa`s intellect and vision for The Gambia. And Gambians have realized that. In the past, the broadcasting media was not that free, in particular, the radios that are dominant sources of information were not accessible. So, a competent candidate like Halifa, couldn`t demonstrate his full potentials before the people. Therefore, in the next Presidential Election, Gambians will separate the chaff from the grains.

What's your take on the criticisms thrown at him?

You know unless we differentiate between facts and fictions this country will never move on. Criticisms are acceptable since Halifa is a democrat and a politician. However, it has to be constructive. It is my contention that most of Halifa`s critics lack the intellectual pedigree to prove their cases against him. For some, they can never like Halifa and criticisms emanating from such people should be redirected to a septic tank. 

Is there anything about Halifa that many don't know?

Halifa does not accept personal gifts. Halifa exercises every day before going to bed (training). He can stay for a whole day without eating and not fasting. He is not somebody who eats and drinks everywhere.


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