A victim of the April 10/11 students massacre, Yusupha Mbye, has turned down a D19,000 check for reparations issued by the Truth, Reconciliation, and Reparations Commission (TRRC).
“[I] wish to react to the issue of reparations to victims. Let me state that more than anything, reparations are the most potent means through which victims could find total closure and solace after knowing the truth of what happened to them,” Yusupha Mbye told the commission in a two-page missive dated July 22 and obtained by Freedomnewspaper.
Gambia’s truth commission is due to table its final report by the end of July 2021 as the issue of reparations is increasingly taking shape. Facing life in a wheelchair due to gunshots wounds, Yusupha Mbye is among a good number of victims who had the opportunity to testify before the TRRC.
In an attempt to clarify his stance, Mbye unequivocally said that “no amount or kind of reparations can indeed restore my rights and dignity in full.”
The Gambia government injected 50 million dalasis into the truth commission reparation fund. The move was highly welcomed by victims but calls are intensifying for authorities to allocate an additional 50 million to the said fund as the commission struggles to meet its targets.
“I have come to recognise and accept the fact that I have been permanently disadvantaged, incapacitated and disempowered by the events of April 10/11,” he added in a poignant tone.
Consequently, Mbye made it clear that he is leaning towards reparations that would serve as “a mitigating measure”, allowing him  “to live with some modicum of ease, privacy and dignity.”
He then added: “For that matter, I do not wish to be given a one-time payment of any amount.”
Taking into consideration the role played by the responsibility in his own predicament, Yusupha Mbye clearly stated that his situation requires liftime “services to be provided” to him with a view to enabling “to avoid being plunged into a deeper state of destitution, sickness and poverty.”
“In this regard, I wish to bring to the attention of the State, which is the perpetrator in my case, like many others, to take its full obligation to provide me the means to enjoy a decent and reasonable state of health and dignity,” he emphasized before laying down a number of conditions, including the hiring of a permanent nurse for his upkeep, continuous supply of urine and cacheter bags…
While requesting a permanent access to physiotherapy services, Mbye also demanded the commission to consider a possible allocation of a permanent allowance by the State.
The said allowance, he went on, will not only be monthly, but it will also be based on the real cost of living…

Written by Abdoulie John

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