By Alagie Manneh
The Gambia government has told the TRRC that the privileges of a presidential convoy cannot be limited, rather, it should be regulated.
The truth commission made a recommendation for National Assembly to enact legislations and or regulations limiting the immunities of presidential and other convoys.
It made the suggestion after detailing the “reckless” driving of former president Jammeh’s convoys, reporting that it resulted in deaths and injuries of numerous pedestrians, motorists and bystanders.
To avoid a reoccurrence of these tragedies and impunity, the Commission said the legislation could also be included in the Motor Traffic Act or the Highway Code.
However, detailing its position on the matter in the White Paper, the government responded that presidential convoys have “certain privileges” based on security issues, and that as such, it is “important to protect the administrative and security network of the president and for general public safety. As such regulations should not limit privileges but regulate how a convoy operates while guaranteeing the safety of the public”.
But it added however, that it “accepts the recommendation of the Commission to investigate and prosecute members of the Presidential and Vice Chairman’s convoy including former president Yahya Jammeh, for road traffic offences committed resulting in death”.
The TRRC has reported that in all the accidents that occurred, the convoy drivers who caused them were never investigated, prosecuted, or held accountable for their actions. “There was complete immunity for the drivers and the victims often treated their injuries themselves without any government intervention or compensation,” it stated.
The throwing of biscuits by former president Jammeh to the crowds welcoming him was “negligent” and “carried out without due regard to the consequences it may cause to the crowd.”
“The Commission found that the occurrences of the repetitive deaths suggested that former president Jammeh was aware of the deaths caused as a result of his actions but did not care about the reckless nature and consequences of his actions.”
The commission has since recommended Jammeh and others involved be “investigated and prosecuted for murder, manslaughter and other road traffic offences”. The government accepted the recommendation.