The president of the Republic of The Gambia, His Excellency, Adama Barrow, has said his government has hundred per cent commitment and political will to execute the recommendations of the Truth, Reconciliation, and Reparation Commission (TRRC) to the letter, however, he cautioned that he expects people he described as “experts” as well as members of his cabinet to “examine” the recommendations and offer their inputs into those recommendations.
“We are waiting for the report and if we get it then our team of technicians will come together and look at it, analyse it and advise us. Experts will comprehensively brief cabinet and cabinet will discuss these issues and then finally we will come out with whatever recommendations our experts and cabinet approved and we will execute it to the letter,” said the Gambian leader.
The president made these statements in a very recent exclusive interview with journalist soft he state broadcaster; the Gambia Radio and Television Services (GRTS) while featuring in a program called The President’s Diary.
The interview also comes barely a week after the TRRC’s efforts to rename Arch 22 to Memorial Arch in honour of the victims of former president Yahya Jammeh’s 22-year brutal rule was put on hold by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, who had claimed that his ministry, which is the line ministry between the Commission and the government, was not consulted.
President Barrow said it was essential that government did not pander to public sentiments but follow due process in making policy. He said even though people will have their opinions and criticise, the government will not play to the gallery in dealing with the TRRC’s recommendations but rather follow due process as he said; “it is about principle, not personnel.”
“This is about the country, not your house; even sometimes you calculate what you do in your house. We will follow due process, which is what we fought for, and I assure Gambians that we will make sure we do the right thing. As a leader, you have these challenges sometimes, but I am enjoying the democracy going forward.
“My principle is that we should have a truth and reconciliation in this country and moving forward, if we do not know the truth, we cannot reconcile,” the president said.
Pledging his government’s commitment to the commission, President Barrow affirmed that the TRCC is part of his legacy and that he does not want any trail of bad governance to stain his legacy.
“I set up the TRRC and it is part of my legacy, and I do not want a bad legacy for myself, government or the country.” Also speaking on the issue of that now- jettisoned Draft Constitution, which has sparked much debate among Gambians of all walks of life, the president said there is still hope.
“The Draft Constitution is alive and not dead. As a people, we decided to disagree on certain things, but I believe that we will finally get the Constitution on track and we will approve it. This is about governance, managing a state, and democracy. If it was before, you will just send the document to the National Assembly and it will be approved, but now people are free and that makes me proud. That freedom is part of democracy; everybody has an opinion, everybody has a voice, divergent views; that freedom is what we fought for, and I think that is why this Constitution was really debated.”
President Barrow also went on further to reveal that he values critics and criticisms and that he regards these as vital to the work he does and the position he holds as a Gambian leader.
“I listen more to my critics than to my close associates as they may sometimes give me bad advice because they may think that is what I want to hear,” he said, crediting his critics for some of the “correct” policies taken by his government.
“I listen to my critics most of the time, it is because of them I was able to correct a lot of things,” he said.
Published 1 year ago on June 29, 2021