By Kebba Jeffang
President Adama Barrow admits that the journey towards the consolidation of democracy, good governance and human rights by his Government, has been tested and challenged by the Faraba Banta incident.
“It appears that in our journey towards the consolidation of democracy, good governance, human rights and national development, our resolve is being tested and challenged,” Barrow said.
The president was addressing the six newly sworn in members of the of the presidential inquiry commission, who are charged with impartial and independent investigations into the circumstances leading to the incident in Faraba Banta. Three people were killed in Faraba Banta by live-bullets during confrontation between police and anti-mining demonstrators on 18th of June. Dozen others were left with critical injuries including one police officer.
The commissioners are Emanuel Joof, Chairperson, Neneh MC Cham, Abdoulie Colley, Omar Cham and Lt. Yusupha Jallow are members while Charles Njie was sworn-in as Secretary to the Commission.
“This swearing-in ceremony will allow us to follow the right process in order to establish the truth and thereafter, take the right decision and a well-informed course of action,” he said.
Among the responsibilities of the commission is to investigate who killed who and where the authorization came at all levels, including the police chain of command. They are also expected to find out who were involved in the destruction of public properties and those responsible will face justice.
He pointed out that it is only the truth that can free the people of Faraba Banta from their troubles and allow them to reconcile their differences as a community.
“This commission has a challenging task to perform. But I am confident, that guided by your level of competence, integrity and experience, you will get to the bottom of the event and submit an impartial report for peace and justice to prevail.
It is important also for us to make sure that appropriate action is taken, so that such incidents do not recur in the country,” he said.
Barrow also urged for truthful collaboration with the community in the provision of credible information to investigators. He said this is very essential for the success of the Commission.
“In this light, I call upon all those affected, to give the Commission the necessary support and collaboration, to enable it undertake this sensitive task successfully,” he said.
“Although I trust that your recommendations will be without prejudice against anybody, I encourage you to investigate the incident with a high sense of discipline and honesty,” he concluded.
The Chairperson of the Commission Emanuel Joof, assured of their readiness and commitment, to carry out the assignment diligently.
Justice Minister Aboubacarr Tambadou, said the choice of members of the commission demonstrates the commitment of the president to investigate the matter independently; that the issue at hand will not be white-washed and forgotten.
“We have a good team. You have people who are well versed in investigations and human rights issues. We will carry out the task independently and impartially,” he said.
Meanwhile, Omar Ousman Jobe was also sworn in as the Secretary to the Constitutional Review Commission.