By Tabora Bojang
A member of parliament from Ghana’s main opposition party, Emmanuel Kwasi Bedzrah who is currently in The Gambia to take part in a convergence of the Ecowas parliament, has urged President Adama Barrow to show enough commitment to prosecute perpetrators of the gruesome murder of 44 Ghanaians killed in Gambia in 2005.
According to the findings of the truth commission which submitted its report to the president last year, a total of 44 Ghanaians, 9 Nigerians, 2 Togolese, a Senegalese and an Ivorian plus one Gambian were killed by the Junglers on the orders of Yahya Jammeh in July 2005.
Although the Barrow government has agreed with the commission’s recommendation to prosecute Jammeh in its White Paper, concrete visible efforts are yet to be seen.
But the Ghana MP argued that actions must be taken against some of the accomplices already in the country before the government gets to Jammeh in his exiled base, which would demonstrate their readiness.
“It is not the Ghana government that will go to Equatorial Guinea to arrest Yahya Jammeh because the crime was not committed on the soil of Ghana, it was committed on the soil of Gambia together with all the people who committed the atrocity. It wasn’t Yahya Jammeh alone even though the ball stops with him as a president. The others who did it, are still here in [Gambia] so why are they not pursuing those people who took a fraction or orders from him [Jammeh] as per the [TRRC] report? They must also be held accountable; they must also be held responsible for their actions that they have taken,” Emmanuel Kwasi told The Standard.
The National Democratic Congress NDC lawmaker, stated that as per the international protocols on the sovereignty of states, the onus to prosecute the former Gambian leader over the massacre of the West African migrants lies on the Gambia.
“If Gambia really is serious about this, I think it is time to seriously take up this matter because it will bring harmony, co-existence and understanding between the two countries. My plea with the current government is that they will follow through in the spirit of friendship and community co-existence to make sure that the perpetrators are brought to justice and reparations to the families are done expeditiously. Ecowas is a community of people and I believe they don’t want to wreck the relationship that we have between Gambia and Ghana but having said that, it does not mean Yahya Jammeh and the Gambian government should not be held accountable for whatever has happened”, Kwasi charged.
Another NDC opposition member of parliament, Laadi Ayii Ayamba, described the murder of the migrants as ‘gruesome and unacceptable.’
Ayamba, who is also a woman activist, urged the Barrow government to take the lead and lay bare the facts that will support Jammeh’s prosecution for his crimes.
“The Gambia Government is supposed to give us [Ghana] all the necessary support for us to unearth the truth about it and make sure that the information we are getting is right,” she urged.
The outspoken MP warned the Gambian president to avoid political considerations and accept the commission’s recommendations to bring Jammeh to book the killing of Ghanaians and other West African migrants.
“He [Barrow] shouldn’t forget that it could have been himself, it could have been his son or it could have been his brother killed. It [prosecuting Jammeh crimes] is not an issue of politics. If it was about politics, Yahya Jammeh at that time should have thought about Ghana as a brother or a sister country and inform the authorities about these people if these are crimes, he recognised but you cannot just kill them in cold blood,” Ayamba noted.