On the appointment of Alagie Barrow: A Note to Baba Galleh Jallow

Dear Baba,

I salute you as my ‘koto’ both in culture and intellectual prowess. You have been a lighthouse for many of us for decades in terms of intellectual pursuit and literary adventure.

I still remember you for your many essays and stories in the Daily Observer especially in the scintillating debates you used to have with your sparring partner Mr. Brains whom, you claimed, boasted about his ability to write a thousand books with eyes wide-shut. Among your many feats was your heroic berating of Honourable Halifa Sallah as you defended the then young lieutenant Yahya Jammeh and his AFRPC in your classic essay “The Gambia an Egg on the Rocks”.

With all this glorious pedigree and your fight (later) against Yahya Jammeh and his government you earned my respect even though I didn’t agree with you all the time. You always had a certain sense of principle even if I didn’t agree with you I still respected that.

So I was indeed shocked that you accepted the position of Executive Secretary of the Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC). Yes I was shocked because your sense of principle should have guided you to not play such a critical role in a truth and reconciliation process concerning the past regime. This, because we all know how you hated Yahya Jammeh and his government. And we know how you fought against that government and how you suffered as well; so you are a victim of the past regime without a doubt. How then can a victim occupy such a sensitive position in a truth and remedial process?

I never made much noise about it because it looks like a whole nation is sleeping while our fragile truth and reconciliation process is heading for the rocks.

With all this background Baba, one would have thought that you would be extra sensitive to making wrong and biased decision in your controversial role as executive secretary of the TRRC.

Therefore news of the appointment of (your alleged personal friend) Alhagie Barrow sent shockwaves to people who care about the plight of the alleged victims of the past government. How can you appoint Alhagie Barrow as Director of Research and Investigation for the TRRC? Alhagie Barrow who took up arms to attack the Jammeh government is now going to lead the processes of investigation against some of the very people who fought to foil his attack on  the Jammeh government!

Oh Baba, you really need to revisit this decision. I make this appeal bearing in mind the need for Gambians to have a proper and impeccable process in our bid to establish the truth about the past and foster national reconciliation. Appointing conflicted persons like Alhagie Barrow is actually going to help the alleged perpetrators of rights violations because they can always argue that the process of establishing the truth was flawed from the get go.

Baba, don’t you have any sympathy/empathy for the victims who have been yearning for truth/justice and closure for years? Why should your personal interests swamp the interest of a whole nation yearning for truth and closure?

My brother, you threatened President Barrow with your resignation if he didn’t take corrective measures on the Faraba incident; you didn’t need to do that because President Barrow was going to do the right thing anyway. So now will you wait for him to threaten you before you correct your this monumental error? Or are you taking our news President for granted knowing that he doesn’t want to hurt a fly?

Just for the sake of clarity, Baba, I am not against your friend getting a job in New Gambia. We want to open a new page and allow all able hands to play a role in nation building. So feel free to use your connections and get a job for Mr. Barrow; he is just simply not fit and proper to lead a research and investigation process into the affairs of a man and system that he hated so much that he took up arms to annihilate them.

Baba, We are going through a transition that has already witnessed so many errors; so we have been blaming the politicians and some have now started asserting that we need intellectuals in the driver’s seat. And you of all people Baba, you have started steering our delicate ship (as delicate as an egg) toward the rocks.

I hope you will reconsider your decision on such a massively erroneous appointment? Otherwise, we shall sit down one day, look you in the face and spurt out a disappointment and frustration of Shakespearean proportion: ‘et tu Baba?’

Regards
Momodou Sabally
Former S.G, Presidential Affairs Minister

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