Gambia: Editorial: Is The TRC Dead?

What happen to the much talked about Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) ? When will the TRC going to be launched? Justice Minister Baa Tambadou, why is the Jammeh Commission preceding the setting up of the TRC?...

What happen to the much talked about Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) ? When will the TRC going to be launched? Justice Minister Baa Tambadou, why is the Jammeh Commission preceding the setting up of the TRC? It is often said “there cannot peace without justice. ” When shall the victims of Jammeh’s atrocities be availed with justice? This was not what you told us some months ago. You gave us a six months timeline for the launching of the TRC, which is not the case now. We are hearing about something different from the TRC. Interesting times Gambia! 

Going after Jammeh and his cronies in the name of accountability, is a laudable initiative, but lest we not forget that justice is sacrosanct as far as safeguarding the pillars of democratic rule is concerned. After all, the proposed TRC, was first announced prior to the setting up of the just launched Commission into the financial activities of the dictator and his former government.

Under normal circumstances, a legal notice ought to have been issued before hurriedly launching the Jammeh Economic Commission. The members of the public ought to have been informed about the proposed Commission. This is a requirement by law. But throwing the composition of the commission on our face, without following the dictates of the constitution amounts to putting the horse before the cart. Our learned friends at the Bar should start questioning the excesses of the justice ministry. There is a documented pattern of constitutional omission by this regime.

Proper vetting of the membership of the commission should not be left entirely in the hands of the Justice Ministry or the President. Citizens’ input is essential. It is going to help the authorities to render justice to those being called before the commission.

Reports have it that one of the Commissioners Mr. Saine, a banker, is the biological son of the former NIA chief Lamin Saine. Common sense dictates that Mr. Saine’s affiliation with his Dad discredits him as an impartial commission member. Here is a guy, whose father presided over Jammeh’s notorious NIA, where torture, rape, and extra judicial killing was the order of the day. How stupid can we be as a nation to have siblings whose parents directly or indirectly contributed to Jammeh’s twenty two years of genocide against our people to be part of the Commission? Utter nonsense and blatant stupidity. 

“Pa, I just read your breaking story on the newly sworn Commission members to look into Jammeh’s mismanagement and assets. I am deeply concerned about one of the members, Bai Mass Saine. This is the son of Captain Saine former nominated MP and former DG of NIA, a hardcore Jammeh loyalist, who should be investigated for heinous crimes that took place under his watch. The Commission work has already been compromised even before it started . Jammeh will be getting inside information. Don’t rule it out,” said a reader.

“Pa, further to the information, Bai Mass Saine, is staying with the father at Kololi. They share the same compound. He built a house inside the father’s compound. He works at the Standard Bank. He is close to the father. Pa, we are talking about the former DG of NIA. His hands are not clean. The son should have turn down this offer unless he wants to try and save the dad. It could be a tactical move,” he added. 

How will the family of the late Gambian journalist Deyda Hydara feel upon hearing this? Lamin Saine represented the Gambian state during the court proceedings in Nigeria, when Jammeh was taken to the ECOWAS court for murdering Hydara. Lamin Saine gladly showed up in court to defend Jammeh’s crimes against our people. Saine and Hydara used to be good friends. He was always frequenting the offices of the Point Newspaper prior to Hydara’s murder. He was the one, who interviewed Hydara’s wife when the incident happened. 

The current Justice Minister Baa Tambadou calls himself a human right activist. How can Baa miss this one?  Children of the former dictator’s enablers have been entrusted with  pursuing the stolen millions. We just don’t get it. Gross abdication of duties on the side of our good friend Baa Tambadou. 

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