By Adama Tine
Gambia’s veteran politician Halifa Sallah of the People’s Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism (PDOIS) has said that this year’s presidential elections will be his final contest for the presidency. He made these remarks while submitting his nomination papers to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) on Wednesday.
Hon Sallah was accompanied by an organised crowd of supporters who walked from the police barricade to the IEC building, unlike other prospective presidential candidates who drove into the IEC premises.
According to Hon. Sallah he has reached the pinnacle of his participation in politics in the country, therefore, he will help the next generation position themselves for development.
“This is my last attempt; I have played my part. Now the Gambian people have a voice and power, we now have our own will,” he said.
He said his party seeks system change, noting that only the wealth of the nation can eradicate poverty.
“The nation is a national ‘osusu’ [saving scheme], the national banks should give loans without interests. No politicians pocket can eradicate poverty,” he said.
Hon. Sallah disclosed that only his party has articulated a plan for the eradication of rural poverty and that is key to the development of the nation.
“No other party has articulated its plans for the eradication of rural poverty, but we have done that. Let us use the national wealth to eradicate poverty,” he said.
He further added that a major method of achieving this is ensuring that the village fund that comes in the form of rates or taxes go into the village treasury and not the councils.
Halifa Sallah was born in 1953 and raised in Serekunda, The Gambia. He was educated in the United States where he graduated with a degree in sociology.
Hon. Sallah returned to the Gambia in 1977 from abroad and worked as a social worker in the Social Welfare Department.
The PDOIS presidential candidate is currently a member of the National Assembly representing Serekunda.