Ahead of the submission of the final reports and recommendations of the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) which could happen anytime from today, Hon. Madi Ceesay, National Assembly member for Serrekunda West has told NewDay that the government of President Adama Barrow would do itself major favours if it respected the recommendations and implemented them with maximum goodwill.
He said the actual or rumoured political ambition of either Dr. Baba Galleh Jallow, TRRC’s Executive Secretary or of Lawyer Essa Faal, who is the commission’s Lead Counsel “does not in any way affect the credibility and/or plausibility of the TRRC’s recommendations”.
Dr Jallow has since resigned in advance of final submission of the commission’s report. He had also admitted that he nursed ambitions to vie for the country’s highest seat in December.
Esaa Faal on the other hand, has not officially thrown his hat into the ring. However, he has also not denied the very wild rumours that he is interested in becoming The Gambia’s leader and that he would seek to actualise the desire by contesting in the forthcoming polls scheduled for December 4, 2021.
Both men have been lampooned by those opposed to their political ambitions, and online commentaries abound, suggesting that their personal political ambitions could potentially taint the recommendations that are expected from the commission.
Hon. Madi Ceesay, National Assembly member for Serrekunda West says the TRRC’s recommendations are completely immune to the personal political ambitions and interests of either men or even of any of the commission’s members.
He said those who hold a contrary view are either ignorant of the working of the commission or are those who have a political reason to try to undermine the TRRC even before the conclusion of its mandate.
“I do not think that the TRRC report would be affected simply because the Lead Counsel and the Secretary General of the Commission expressed their interests in politics. That is their political and constitutional rights.
It is a completely different area and has nothing to do with the Commission’s report because they have done their jobs without going into politics and they have not expressed their intentions of going into politics while they were doing their jobs.
“Besides, these two people are not even commissioners; one is the Lead Counsel and the other the Secretary General; both men have nothing to do with the drafting or compilation of the final report.
“For instance, Essa Faal’s job was just as a lead counsel and we all saw him do his job excellently live on TV. All he did was ask relevant questions and that’s all. He is not involved in writing the report.
The commissioners are the people who matter in that respect; that is the Chairman and his Commissioners, so this (Essa Faal’s political ambitions, if there are any) cannot in any way undermine or taint the TRRC report,” he said.
Ceesay also said it behoves the president to show faithfulness and commit towards implementing the recommendations in good faith and with utmost goodwill.
Lawyer Abdoulie Fatty agrees. He described the TRRC as perhaps the most important public inquiry in Gambian history. “I’ve always said that the TRRC, as far as I am concerned, is perhaps the most important public inquiry in the history of this country for different reasons. The TRRC was tasked with investigating the most brutal and dark period of our nation’s history.
Human rights abuses and violations that were perpetrated systematically, to entrench a dictatorship and one man’s pursuit of remaining in power at all costs.
The recommendations of the TRRC in terms of first, cataloguing the extent of the violations that occurred, criminal accountability of those that bear the greatest responsibility by means of prosecution, reparations through institutional reforms, monetary compensation and memorialization etc, make the findings and ultimate recommendations of the TRRC not only unique but extremely important.
The TRRC concerns all of us, both here and in the diaspora. It goes further than that. It is also about confronting our terrible past for the purpose of reconstructing our country and ending the culture of impunity and abuse of power. Building a system that respects fundamental human rights and freedoms and strengthening democratic institutions.”
He says President Barrow “must, in good faith, for the interest of all Gambians and stakeholders , implement the recommendations of the TRRC. Whatever advice he seeks from technocrats, experts and Cabinet, it must be in the spirit of a genuine effort to implement the recommendations.
However, there is a lot of concern and anxiety that because of the political calculus, the TRRC is no longer this government’s primary focus. I hope I am wrong. Anyway, anything less than implementing the recommendations of the TRRC especially the ones that are so integral to our immediate political future, will be disastrous and would have significantly dented the transition process.”
Published on July 12, 2021