Lamin Waa Juwara said he has forgiven the people who have tortured him because the Gambian character is forgiveness.
A former United Democratic Party strongman has criticized dictator Yahya Jammeh as someone that no one can be proud of.
Juwara, the sixth witness before the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission, has however avoided the lead counsel’s question to explicitly say if he has regretted his decision to work with Jammeh as a Local Government minister.
Juwara was appointed minister in 2012 and fired seven months later. He was charged for abuse of office but later acquitted and discharged.
“Jammeh is not somebody that anybody can be proud of… At the time it was a question of either joining him or dying… It was a question of survival. I did not want to leave this country,” said Juwara.
Juwara was arrested and tortured in several occasions by state agents reportedly under the orders of the former dictator. He however said he has forgiven his torturers.
“I was tortured by Momodou Bojang… He was one-time minister. At this very time, he was commissioner at Janjanbureh. I have forgiven him. The Gambian character is forgiveness…,” said Juwara.
“We all need to turn around and tell Jammeh that Gambia is more important than him. Gambia is more important than any individual or group of individuals… Even Jammeh should accept that he did things here that are wrong…”
The veteran politician said he is glad that Gambia is reverting to its historical position of being a country ruled by rule of law and democracy.
“We need a Gambia where everyone can feel at home…,” said Juwara, adding that various ethnic extractions of the country are its strengths, not a weakness.
Juwara’s photos showing the torture marks on his face, chest, and feet at the Janjanbureh prisons were admitted into evidence by the Commission.