“Jammeh Protected Himself, Ignored Citizens,’’ Victim Says

By Mamadou Dem

The Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission (TRRC), has arrived in Basse in the URR on the third day of their nationwide tour, to sensitise Gambians  about the Commission and what it’s engagements will be, when established. Mrs. Fatou Jammeh-Touray, Governor of Upper River Region (URR) in her welcome remarks to the members of the delegation headed by the Minister of Justice, encouraged members of her community to be attentive and participate fully in the discussions.

Alhagie Amadou Kora of Basse, Upper River Region (URR), alleged that the previous regime headed by Yahya Jammeh did not accord protection to the citizenry because he failed to respect ‘‘our’’ rights as citizens.

Mr. Kora made this allegation at the ongoing countrywide consultative meeting in Basse, for the establishment of a Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission (TRRC), organised and led by the Ministry of Justice in collaboration with UNDP.

However, he advised members of the community who are affected either directly or indirectly, to bear the pain, the loss and the injury, meted on them by the former regime.

On Privacy: Regarding private and sensitive information involving victims, some expressed concern as to whether they can disclose that information in public, particularly rape cases. The Minister however explained that the truth must come to light; that when the Commission commences sitting, hearings in camera would be considered for such victims.

Others were of the view that the commission should be one that would wipe the tears of victims especially those in rural settlements who were traumatized under Jammeh whilst others suggested for some people within the region to be selected to assist the commission including those knowledgeable in Sharia, as the ministry alone cannot do it.

“The Commission should be established,” said Abubacarr Krubally in Basse. Mr. Krubally warned his colleges to be God fearing and desist from making untruthful allegations. He pointed out that the issue of a National Assembly Member losing his/her seat upon dismissal by the party, should be amended and a presidential term limit be included in the Constitution.

Lady Councillors for both Basse and Jimara intimated that they never thought Jammeh’s era will come to an end because of the stigma and discrimination meted on them.

According to her, some of the perpetrators are of the opinion that the commission is a joke and appealed to the minister to fast track the process and establish it as soon as possible.

Speaking earlier, Namory Trawally of the Gambia Press Union said the Commission is very important as it will probe into the activities committed by the former regime. “The Commission will investigate to know what exactly happened and come up with a solution,” he said.

He urged everyone to exchange ideas with the delegates for a better Gambia. He explained why the commission should be established, how it will operate and when they intend to commence sittings.

“Government wants to know the atrocities committed from July 1994 to December 2016 so that everything will become clear,” he explained.

“This will help government to know the right approach to take in the healing process. It will also help to know the number that disappeared, how they disappeared and when.”

Mr. Trawally concluded that the Commission will write a report after accomplishing their work and in the report they will advise the President based on their findings; that this will enable government to come up with policies to avoid future brutality in the country like that of the former regime of Jammeh.