Tuesday, May 28, 2024

My advice to President Adama Barrow on National Reconciliation

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By Capt. Ebou Jallo, rtd

Your excellence, The Gambia is about to reach the crescendo of party politics running into 2021 with very high stakes for your political career and the peace of the country.  I am appealing to your better angels besides your own political interests to secure a peaceful reconciliation of all Gambians; and particularly a rapprochement with bona-fide Gambian supporters of the APRC. The Gambian political trajectory is very similar to that of Ghana, and in fact the Gambian constitution is a carbon copy of the former.  And yet when Ghana completed their Truth Commission then President Kufuor showed leadership and ignored the mass hysteria calling for futile prosecutions which could have plundered Ghana into the cesspool of failed African states.  This is what statesmanship is all about and not pandering to the hysterical elements of our society that are active on social media.  You can absolve yourself from the mess that the UDP created for your government in full cognizance of the law and also abiding by the natural principles of justice. The APRC is a political community of civilians who have never committed any crime nor any atrocities against any Gambian.  Their only demand as of now is the restoration of the rule of law and a full recognition of Former President Jammeh’s rights guaranteed by the Gambian Constitution and international law as expressed below:

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  1. The Gambian constitution does recognize the Coup of 22 July 1994 as a public good and this again was endorsed by the sovereign people of the Gambia as a rectification of the evils of the first republic.  This is clearly spelt out in the preamble of the Gambian constitution.                                2.     Section 69 gives an absolute immunity to former President Jammeh against any civil proceedings and also spells out clearly how he can ever be prosecuted in a criminal court- It must pass the test of a political process first at the National Assembly.                                                        3.     Former President Jammeh made an agreement with the International Community (UN, AU, ECOWAS and regional Heads of State) that recognized the rights of the APRC and his constitutional rights according to law.  The same document also acknowledges president Jammeh’s rights to return back into the Gambia at any time he wants without prejudice.      4.     The integrity of both the Janneh Commission and the TRRC have been compromised by a multitude of factors ranging from a deliberate abrogation of the Gambian constitution to playing politics with the truth by averting the TRRC’s gaze away from the impunity of armed insurrections against the Gambian constitution during the Farafenni-Kartong attacks, and recently the abysmal December 30 2014 attempt to overthrow a constitutional democracy.  Adding insult to injury both commissions appointed tax frauds and criminals in both proceedings to investigate somebody they all harbor a visceral hatred at the expense of the Gambian tax payers. This is totally unacceptable and Gambians shall never forgive your government for making such a terrible mistake.            5.     The TRRC is not a legal fact-finding body aimed purely at determining guilt or innocence. Its purpose should have been intended firstly as a space for victims to tell their stories and receive acknowledgement; a space removed from the imbalances of power that led to the abuses they have suffered.  Instead the TRRC has been turned into an Essa Faal Reality TV, a stepping stone to launching his new-found celebrity political career.  This is very shameful and really sad for Gambia.

Mr. President I would urge you to reconsider all the bad advice you have been force-fed since the inception of your administration, and step up to the challenge of statesmanship, and do the right thing for all Gambians.  You do not have neither the capacity nor the time to be re-litigating complex wrongs in the past, embarking on a witch-hunt nor satisfying the wet-dreams of an old man or his group of supine nonentities.   Do the right thing and save the Gambia: reconcile with the APRC and form an alliance with them.

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