The starting point of Nation building is for all of us to see each other as compatriots, respecting and loving each other’s capacity so that we become assets to the Nation. That’s what national reconciliation means. It is not saying you are reconciling some people who are Jola speaking, Mandinka, Fula and those other ethno-linguistic groups because as far as the Republic is concerned, there is no Jola, No woman, No Christians, No Muslim. What is there is Gambian citizen.
That is why you have a passport which concentrates on your citizenship.
Your worth will be determined by the worth of the country, so National reconciliation means everybody becoming sovereign, no one recognises that he or she belongs to a minority because that does not exist in a sovereign Republic, that is the starting point of National reconciliation. Everybody becoming a sovereign citizen and recognising no other authority but your sovereignty as the authority that must determine the authority of the land. That’s how powerful you are, a VIP, very important person because you determine who is to be a president, National Assembly Member, councillor. Who is more important than you?
The sovereign person has a right to life, to liberty, free from arbitrary arrest and detention; a right to education; a right to health; a right to even petition a public power and a right to speak the truth to power and that’s what justice is all about, and that nobody should be barred from exercising those rights in the New Gambia and because those rights were denied in the past, that’s why we need transitional justice, those who perpetrated those wrongs did it to people who may still be suffering from the wounds either because they disappeared without trace or had been tortured or subjected to any form of degradation. So you would need transitional justice where those who perpetrated those wrongs would also go through a process that would be similar to those of the person who has suffered from wrongs would also go through that process. A process of substantive Justice, justice whose weight you feel that right has been done.