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Madi Jobarteh: Who Is Responsible For The Lonely Protest Of Dictator Enablers?

Madi Jobarteh

Today, APRC staged a so-called protest against the Gambia as they sought to unsuccessfully ridicule and block national efforts to heal and reconcile the country due to their 22-year misrule and mayhem. In their so-called petition which they were scared to issue out publicly even at the protest grounds, APRC’s Fabakary Tombong Jatta sought to damage the integrity and credibility of the TRRC with misleading interpretation of the Constitution.

Contrary to his false attempt to mislead, the TRRC is not a commission of inquiry as contemplated in Section 200 of the Constitution. TRRC was created by an act of the National Assembly hence not subject to Section 200. The structures and processes of the TRRC and the appointments and qualification of its Commissioners are spelt out in its Act. APRC National Assembly Members were present and voted for the passing of the TRRC Bill in 2017 without objection.

Just because the noose is now tightening around the neck of perpetrators who are members and supporters of APRC and Yaya Jammeh, Fabakary therefore intends to derail this country once again as he and his APRC had done for 22 years. The testimonies of victims and perpetrators are a clear indictment and condemnation of Yaya Jammeh and his AFPRC and APRC regimes. TRRC Commissioners, lawyers, investigators and administrators did not commit the heinous crimes caused by AFPRC/APRC perpetrators. These crimes and their victims are largely public knowledge over the years well before the idea of a truth commission was born.

Therefore, much as the Government has protected the right of APRC to scramble, the reasonable thing for the Government to do next is to make a public statement to inform the general public that there is a legal and legitimate transitional justice process launched by the Government itself. It is important that the Government re-emphasize that TRRC is not a witch-hunt or a circus. Rather TRRC is a legal entity tasked with a noble mandate to unearth the truth about the AFPRC/APRC misrule which was characterised by the personalisation of the State and public wealth by Yaya Jammeh alone, gross human rights violations on his behalf, disregard of the rule of law and blatant abuse of office with impunity for his singular selfish interest. This is why TRRC is here.

Failure to do so means the Gambia Government is complicit in the blatant distortion perpetrated by APRC. In fact, the fact that APRC would have the audacity to deny the atrocities committed by and for Yaya Jammeh, and then have the temerity to caricature the entire national transitional justice process is simply because Pres. Barrow has provided them courage to do so. Thus, none is most responsible for the denial of dictatorship and the celebration of perpetrators over victims than the President himself. He is the one squarely responsible for giving fertile grounds to Yaya Jammeh and his Enablers to attack the soul and dignity of the Gambia with impunity. Thanks to Pres. Barrow, those who harmed this country yesterday and then created and imposed their narrative to silence everyone have today been given the loudhailer to once again seek to control the narrative. This is indeed a betrayal of the highest order perpetrator by Adama Barrow.

Therefore, as citizens, if we have conscience and faith in ourselves and love for our country, we must stand up to ensure that this transitional justice process runs its natural course. APRC and Yaya Jammeh have no power whatsoever to derail this process. They can rant and fret, but even their protest was so lonely and sombre, if not for the presence of the journalists. That shows that APRC is a dying horse and this mockery of a protest is nothing but a mere final huffing of a dying horse. Yaya Jammeh, Edward Singhateh and Sanna Sabally, just like Yankuba Touray, will also face justice sooner than later.

Thus, it is necessary for all our political parties, CSOs and indeed all Gambians to speak up to re-express our faith and commitment to the TRRC and the entire transitional justice process. We must speak out to defend the national healing process which includes reparations to victims, reconciliation between our communities, bringing perpetrators to justice and carrying out legal and institutional reforms. This is the transitional justice process that will restore the rights and dignity of citizens, and transform this country into a democracy, thriving on the principles of good governance, and finally prevent the recurrence of tyranny on our soil ever again.

Let us tell the APRC the truth that their protest is unpatriotic, cowardly and immoral. The fact that they could stage a protest against an agenda of a sitting government yet face no arrests, torture and death as they had done to others when they were in power shows that APRC is suffering from deliberate amnesia. Their so-called protest is a vindication of the transitional justice process that indeed this country underwent a brutal tyranny and needs healing. APRC has proven today that the Gambia under Yaya Jammeh and the Gambia of today are like night and day otherwise Fabakary Tombong Jatta and Dodou Jah would have faced what schoolchildren faced on April 10/11 and what Solo Sandeng and Compatriots faced on April 14 and what Ousainou Darboe and Compatriots faced on April 16 and many more. Arrest, torture and death.

For The Gambia Our Homeland

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