Ten (10) days seems too short for those in the rural parts of The Gambia and in the diaspora to submit objections to the nominated Commissioners of The Gambia’s TRRC to the Justice Ministry in Banjul

Dr. Omar Janneh (PhD)

Any process, such as the TRRC, that is set up to establish the truth, must be seen to be done in an open, efficient and transparent manner- as much as possible. If the Executive is committed to the highest standards of governance of the TRRC, I think it would be helpful to give the public sufficient time to: (1) do background checks on the nominated Commissioners and (2) make their submission of objections to the Justice Ministry in an open, efficient and transparent manner. I think ten daysis insufficient time to allow the public, especially those in rural Gambia and the Diaspora, to do that. Could the Executive please consider making it three weeks, with September 10, 2018 being the deadline? It has to be said that asking the public to send their (individual) objection(s) to the nominations to the Justice Ministry, via surface mail (as announced) and within such a short period of time, seem clumsy, disorganised and grossly inefficient. I hope the Executive remember that the whole of The Gambia does not live on Marina Parade or in the Greater Banjul Area and that their views matter too.

While it is very much appreciated to allow us to object to the nominations, I do not think that we can trust the Executive in regards to telling us the true number of objections received if we submit our objections in the manner they have announced/proposed. It is not yet clear what the Executive intends to do with the objections received because they have not told us anything about the process. Would it not be useful to tell the public a bit more about the objection process so that we can be better informed? Or have I/we missed something? Further, would it not be useful for the public to know that the receipt of a certain number of objections would trigger the Executive to review the name(s) of the individual(s) the public raised objections to and seek the necessary corrective measures? Perhaps that may tell us if we are being listened to. If the Executive has not already made up its mind on the nominations, it would be better if the public were guided as to how to submit their objections to the nominations in a transparent and efficient manner. I think this is the responsibility of any functioning government.

I think the public deserves to be sensitised and guided as to how to make (paper) objections, with the process facilitated by government. For example, would it not be useful to nominate Responsible Individuals who could receive and submit, in a batch, the paper objections from the public? The reason for this is that such a process would allow the public to know the number of objections received and submitted in an open, efficient and transparent manner. How about giving the public the email address of the Justice Ministry dedicated to such an effort which some members of the public (e.g., those in the Diaspora and in the country) could use to submit their objections? In addition, how about submitting the objections online using the TRRC’s website?

And as we are on the issue of objections to appointments in the TRRC, a good number of fair-minded individuals, including others who may well appear before the TRRC, remain concerned that the Executive Secretary and the Director of Research and Investigations are conflicted (TRRC Act, 2017; section 17(1-4). It is crucial that these voices are listened to so that we can avoid the TRRC becoming an exercise in futility. Why is it that the public is not formally given the chance to submit their objections to those appointments as well? What is the rationale for selectively allowing the public to make objections to some key appointments in the TRRC, but not others?

Below is a draft proposal for making (paper) objections to the nominations which you may find useful.

All objections are to be submitted by 12.30pm of August 29, 2018 for onward submission by the Responsible Individualnamed below on August 30, 2018 to the Justice Ministry. But it is hoped that 3 weeks can be given for this exercise so that submissions can be made to the named person below by 12.30pm on September 7 for onward submission, in bulk, to the Justice Ministry on September 10, 2018.

Please submit your objection to the Responsible Individualnamed below:

Miss/Mrs/Ms/Mr/Dr/Prof/Other: …………………………..…………………………………………..

Ministry of Justice

Marina Parade

Banjul

The Gambia

Date:……………………………………

Dear Sir,

I/we write to express our objection to the appointment of the following person(s) as Commissioners of The Gambia’s TRRC because s/he is conflicted (TRRC Act, 2017; Section 17(1-4) and or unsuitable for appointment [TRRC Act, 2017; section 5(3)(a-c)]. The table below indicates why the named Commissioner(s) is conflicted and or unsuitable for appointment. Therefore, it is our strong view that s/he will be a biased Commissioner in the upcoming TRRC and his/her presence in the Team will compromise the credibility of the work of the Commission.