By Aisha Tamba
The head chief of Jarra West district, Yaya Jarjusey, admitted at the truth commission yesterday that he endorsed and supported the bid by some Gambians to change the country’s republican status into a monarchy and enthrone the president Yahya Jammeh as king.
TRRC lead counsel Essa Faal expressed his stupefaction that Chief Jarjusey would mortgage the potential of his children from attaining the highest office by making the country a monarchy.
Chief Jarjusey said he was not alone in endorsing the idea to make Jammeh king. “I was informed and I consented. I was not alone, many others did so and ultimately it was the people who were going to decide. Yes I supported the idea. I will not lie, but ever since that was said did you hear about it again? We knew that would never happen in this country. That will not happen in just a day.”
Jarjusey who has been a chief for at least 20 years, said he was picked by President Jammeh in a manner at variance with the traditional practice of selecting chiefs even though his grandfather served as a chief.
Chief Jarjusey was confronted with a litany of accusations about rights abuses and highhandedness. Of all the allegations levelled against him, he only admitted the Sey Kunda one.
In that case he admitted that he acted unlawfully by imposing an alkalo, a village headman, on them and got the villagers arrested and detained. He apologised to the people of Sey Kunda and sought their pardon.
Meanwhile in a separate development, Brigadier General Alagie Martin and Pa Modou Sarr expressed their remorse for torturing Lt Colonel Baboucarr Sanyang.
Martin had served as the inspector general of the army and led Almamo Manneh, Malafi Corr, Lamin Senghore in the torture of Sanna Sabally, Sadibou Hydara and Sanyang on the instruction of President Jammeh.
Martin had earlier urged the commission to facilitate reconciliation with his victims and asked for their forgiveness.
Pa Modou Sarr testified before the commission on 19 June 2019 and admitted to having indirectly participated in the torture of Sabally and directly participating in the torture of Sanyang by placing a plastic bag over his head as well as kicking and beating him on the orders of Martin.
Speaking at yesterday’s reconciliation, Martin asked for forgiveness from Sanyang. “It was not my intention to do what had happened, it was the situation at the time but as you know me, Colonel, I would definitely not come and do those to you without being given instructions at the time. Once again, I would like to say, I am very, very sorry for what has happened. Definitely it is regrettable, I definitely regret what I did,” Martin explained.
Colonel Sanyang accepted the apology but outlined that “it is easy to forgive but it is not easy to forget,” adding that he still recollects the painful torture meted to him.
Martin and Sarr reconciled with Sanyang and exchanged colanuts.
Lt Colonel Lamin Fatty who testified on 10 April 2019, and admitted to have violated the human rights of fellow soldier Alagie Kebbeh, also appeared before the commission yesterday and reconciled with Kebbeh.