Monday, February 26, 2024

On Shenanigans @ TRRC

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Dear Editor
The Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC Act 2018) came into being as a means to, ‘provide for the establishment of historical record of the nature, causes and extent of violations and abuses of human rights committed from July 1994 to January 2017. Listening to the catalogue of events as harrowing as the crimes there are, it is apt to affirm that the most serious infractions must NOT go unpunished. In the course of this write talking to various people across the spectrum, apparently, these crimes have impacted us all, not only ones directly affected. 
Given the depravity of a situation presented if witness testimony is anything to go by, It is incumbent upon The Gambia police to establish an ”ad hoc” team of investigators to shadow the TRRC whilst gathering evidence and names to connect the dots on legacy (cold case) crimes/
The government better wake up to the seriousness of the circumstance, at the heart of which lies the stability of The Gambia state.There is real fear that the very people cheering for TRRC’s existence may end up undermining it themselves, in view of ill-advised clamouring & politicking on the scene.
With the seriousness it deserves, suspects should be weeded out of governmental roles wherever they hide or reside in a deliberate push to order. Government ought to restore credibility. And as distressing scenes continue to playout – expect to hear more, even worst – we can only hope that the administration will fulfil a campaign / constitutional pledge seeing to it that justice is served without ill-will or favor!!!
Even moreso, with a dozen or so special advisors in town remitted on generous monthly paychecks, can someone at least prevail on the administration for a rethink on national security decisions in the application of ‘smart power’. Today, a suspected murderer, Edward Singhateh, leads Gambia at the Ecowas Commission. The president’s own incompetent national security advisor has a chequered past, as well as handpicked Chief of defense Staff. Despite efforts to have the disjointed army and NIA command disbanded for a fresh recruitment drive, all intentions were frustrated by the very hence-men recycled anew. Talk of credible reforms, the underhand army / SIS facelift appears but old wine in new bottles … yet the Gambian people are told to expect for a boisterous replacement facing up to 21st Century demands (huh). 
I will say this: No one should ever be pressured or forced to reconcile; given that politicians have already moved on from the terrible atrocities inherited, chasing votes left, right and centre. The obsession for re-election bid has had the resident at ‘Marina Parade’ took eye off the ball on critical challenges of governance. Even if speculation, the processions & commissaries continually summoned to State House for unknown known reasons must halt; and for parliament to get its house in order exercise scrutiny over the executive branch. 
Still, the president’s agenda could be best served by effecting a cabinet reshuffle; discarding the other old half for new players working in sync in the national interest – if he is to fulfil declared promises:  
Throughout history, noteworthy leaders have built up shiny legacies through efficiency and vision, which may attain through the rule of law being centre-stage in every decision. Now, given the harrowing scenes as dramatized at the TRRC, the fact that there still exist blood-stained villains pocketing monthly pay cheques at the expense of the taxpayer sickens me to the pit of the stomach. Their rightful abode is Mile 2 prison, to reprocess, rehabilitate on reflective justice until such time that … Listen, the pillars of abuse must cut to size and for justice to be felt and seen to serve!
In all respects, lack of decisive action by a disjointed coalition government too busy laying bed with remnants of the previous regime has come of great surprise. And it is precisely the reason some people find it difficult to support the president’s ideas. The country is best served on ideals; lead to show us what you believe in and the methods or formula to achieve them. 
The waste on bumper executive pay in relation to average wages is concerning. Better schools, teachers and nurses could have prioritised. The ministry of Justice continues to be a weak point as to advisory role for the gov’t, despite millions in budgetary and developmental aid throughout the process. Again, checks and balances must strengthen – for usurped power to return to parliament in the new constitutional amendment.
Lack of decisive action raining on perpetrators of crime has rendered the Barrow government weak in the eyes of observers. Through sheer greed, foolishness, succumbing to the lure of vested interest, various aspects of the transitional justice process has been rendered somewhat farcical.
The democratic way to go about it, perhaps had the Inspector general of Police have visionary qualities in him, you would think the Serious Crimes Unit will have, could have, but should have mobilised on legacy crimes for the courts. An investigative / prosecutorial team operational at the TRRC and Janneh Commission respectively to detain & prosecute infractions against the state. IGP Jobe and police HQ will be held accountable on these failings; notwithstanding credible institutional reforms, anti-corruption drive, as well as monthly/quarterly/annual crime figures – left to wonder if the police knew its true role and purpose in an ‘advancing’ democracy.    
Gibril Saine

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