Jaha Dukureh interview: Joining PDOIS is about putting Gambia first

Written by Saja

Jaha COVER

Nobel Peace Prize nominee Jaha Dukureh has joined the People's Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism (PDOIS). She wants Halifa Sallah to become the next president of The Gambia.  

In this interview with What's On-Gambia, Jaha shares her views on Gambian politics and her association with PDOIS. 

What's On-Gambia: How and why did you decide to join PDOIS?  

Jaha: I’ve known Halifa since 2016 and I have been a huge admirer of his policies and I know he has Gambia’s interest at heart. I have seen him put our country first time and time again. To me joining PDOIS is not about choosing a party but is about putting our country and people first. I always say I am Gambian first and I truly believe in everything PDOIS stands for as a party. 

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Are you permanently based in The Gambia now? 

Yes, I am permanently based in The Gambia with my children. 

Were you approached by other parties?  

I have had conversations with other parties in the past but not at the same level as I have with PDOIS. 

How is PDOIS different from other political parties?  

PDOIS is a socialist party. And I believe a lot of people think socialism is a bad thing but looking at a country like The Gambia, we have no reason to be against socialism.  

Socialist values are about selflessness rather than selfishness and putting the country first. It’s about better schools, it’s about free healthcare and better health systems. It’s about education for all. It’s about a more equal society that is more cohesive. It’s about a government that represents all rather than few. I know PDOIS policies and what they represent for every Gambian and I believe it’s beyond politics for them. 

Will you contest elections at any point?  

 I am not a politician, my decision to join PDOIS is about knowing that I have something to offer and I can help be an architect of our destiny like Halifa says. 

What’s your view on President Barrow’s performance?  

No comment. 

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Do you have any comments on the draft constitution?  

The draft constitution is a document that reflects what Gambians want and what they have asked for. A lot of money has gone into it and it’s not right to waste money that could have gone into helping Gambians. It’s about right and wrong and what is just and the refusal to have the draft constitution go to a referendum is denying Gambians of their constitutional rights and power. 

What do you think about President Adama Barrow running for a second term after refusing to honour his promise to serve only three years? 

No comment. 

Why do you think we’ve not yet had a woman on a presidential ballot box? 

The Gambia like the rest of the world does not trust women to lead effectively which is sad despite the strides women have made and continue to contribute to society. 

Women leaders have to battle sexist comments which are not always fun to watch or endure. Because we see leadership as a masculine trait, it leads to serious gender biases that we all need to work towards. We all have a responsibility to work towards a more equal and equitable society.  

If you were to advise girls and women who want to join PDOIS, what would it be? 

Joining PDOIS is about putting The Gambia first and the needs of our people first. PDOIS is a party that understands The Gambia and her people and have shown us time and time again that they are willing to do what’s right versus siding along Party lines.