Government accused of neglecting victims for political gains


By Omar Bah Dr. Amadou Scattred Janneh, a former minister of information during the former government has accused the Barrow-led administration of neglecting the plight of Jammeh’s victims. “We don’t think the government is paying attention to our concerns. Maybe our cases have been dwarfed by the aim of politicians urged to stay in power to prepare themselves for future elections,” Janneh told journalists at the Victims Center. He argued that the government is trying as much as possible not to offend some segment of the population, adding that this is why some people who ought to be prosecuted are given positions in the government and have become allies of the president and therefore thwarted pursuit of justice. Dr Janneh was speaking on the occasion of the international day for human rights observed by The Gambia Center for Victims of Human Rights Violations yesterday. The event was attended by officials from the CSOs, TRRC, foreign diplomats, victims and government in a panel discussion. Dr Janneh continued: “It is in fact an understatement to even say we are disappointed and frustrated. We believe many of our concerns are relegated to the backbone and priority has been given to reconciliation and attracting political support.” Dr Janneh added that the government’s actions or the lack one has cost the victims a lot. “We felt the government is simply playing lip-service to us victims. We almost saw a foreign head of state before meeting our own president despite persistent efforts and even when our delegation met him it seems as if he minimizes our plight by constantly talking about himself being a victim,” he alleged. He argued that at a time when people are talking about investigating and prosecuting perpetrators of crimes, the government is thinking of how to keep those people in their tent and “therefore they don’t take serious attempt to ensure that the victims have justice.” This, he added, calls for the need for victims to push not to only reveal the truth but also to ensure that they have justice and compensation, adding that private prosecution ought to be considered if they are not satisfied with what is happening now. He said the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission seems to be centered on just reconciliation and revealing information, “but private prosecution will serve as a right channel for private parties to take alleged perpetrators to court regardless of what the TRRC is doing.” Janneh said although there has been some modest improvement in the side of the judiciary since the new government took office as magistrates and judges are fairly independent and are not sending innocent people to prison, “the police are still arresting people and bringing trumped-up charges against them.” He also took time to warn the Civil Society Organisations that it will be a grave mistake to hang their boots because Jammeh is defeated.]]>