By Aminata Ceesay
The Minister of Justice, Abubacarr Tambadou has revealed that his ministry will submit the truth and reconciliation commission draft bill to the National Assembly for scrutiny nor sooner than it is finalized by the ministry and approved by the cabinet.
“Thereafter, we hope to have the necessary support structures in place so that the commission will start hearings by the end of the year,” the Minister said in speech read on his behalf by special adviser Hussein Thomasi at a WANEP stakeholders meeting.
“Appointment of commissioners and recruitment of support staff shall be guided by the Gambia truth, Reconciliation and Reparations commission Act after it is passed by the National Assembly.
“While it is a phenomenon in recent times in most parts of the continent to establish truth and reconciliation commission especially for countries emerging from conflict or repressive and authoritarian rule, ours must not be seen as just following the trend but one based on the present needs and realities of the Gambia at this crucial point of our development for peace-building, reconciling the nation and consolidating our democracy.
“Our nation is left divided and traumatized. There are still wounds to be healed. It is imperative to say that where there is hostility, distrust, misunderstanding and suspicion, national reconciliation will be a precondition for lasting peace and building the nation.”
Also speaking at the high-level multi-stakeholders consultative meeting, the board chairperson WANEP, Maria Dacosta, said various sectors and organizations are currently engaged in isolated initiative geared towards reconciliation and peace building as a result of the impact of the recent political impasse.
She added: “As a means of complementing Government’s efforts in building the new Gambia, this consultative meeting aims at rethinking and restricting the engagement and role of various actors including civil society, traditional and religious organizations, media, women’s groups, security agencies and other state institutions in the ongoing reconciliation and rebuilding process.”