By Mamadou Dem
Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou on the tenth day of the nationwide consultative tour on the formation of a Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission (TRRC) yesterday disclosed at the KMC Hall in Kanifing that investigators and researchers will be involved as support staff in verifying information brought before the commission.
Mr. Haruna Jaiteh of Dippa Kunda while contributing to the formation of the commission intimated that Gambia is a tiny country and cannot be compared to countries that established commissions of this nature such as Burundi, Cote d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone and Rwanda respectively.
However, he opined that when constituting the commission, the customs and traditions of the country should be put into consideration as well as the “Maslahaa” syndrome. He said in doing so, the truth must be implemented.
Mr. Jaiteh suggested that certain measures need to be put in place to avoid glitches; adding that the family of late Solo Sandeng clashed with that of the family of the accused in connection to Solo’s death. “We should distinguish between a Judge and a Commission member,” he pointed out.
Buttressing further, the old man submitted that commissions of this nature after completing their works at times don’t do anything. However, he expressed optimism in the commission about to be setup in the Gambia. He added that there should be proper sensitization to create a better understanding about the TRRC.
He advised for some of the proceedings of the commission to be in private for security reasons. “People with knowledge, skills and abilities should be in the commission. I implore on the Minister of Justice to continue the good work and not to be discouraged,” said Jaiteh.
Speaking earlier, Abdourahman Bah of Manjai said forming the commission is very important; adding that the work that lies ahead is not an easy task as the commission and its members are to investigate issues that occurred in the past 22 years which he said is not equivalent to 22 days. He suggested for the technical committee to meet people in ‘Bantabas’ in order to get firsthand information. “Those constituting the commission should be vetted publicly,” he opined.
Mr. Mamadi Touray of Kololi, appealed for independence and impartiality in the Commission. He acknowledged for the fact that both Jawara and Jammeh regimes did good and bad governance but he advised the people to be extra careful, speak the truth only.
Other speakers like Fatou Njie, Lamin Jammeh and Ndela Sallah expressed similar sentiments. Mr. George Buna Camara advocated for victims to be supported while others urged the minister and team to learn from foreign observers that have experience and requisite knowledge of TRC.
Mayor Yankuba Colley while delivering his closing remarks used the opportunity to thank the Ministry of Justice, the United Nations System and members of the media for the hard work they are rendering to the nation; adding that members from the municipality had done what he expected of them.
“Despite our political affiliations, we are all one people and we shouldn’t allow politics to divide us,” advise Colley.
Justice Minister Tambadou in his closing statement disclosed and clarified that when the commission commences sittings, there will be support staff such as investigators and researchers who will be mandated to cross-check claims before the commission.
He finally appealed to the people not to allow the bad attitudes that were instigated by the former regime to remain in the country but rather join him where he’s in Equatorial Guinea. The tour continues in Bakau and Banjul respectively.