By Omar Bah

The National Assembly Member for Foñi Kansala has warned that prosecuting former president Yahya Jammeh will defeat the purpose of reconciliation and further disunite Gambians.

Jammeh, who has been in exile since 2017 after losing to Adama Barrow in December 2016 presidential election, is accused of gross human rights violations and the TRRC, which heard those violations, has recommended his prosecution.


Last month, the government published its White Paper on the TRRC and has accepted 263 out of the 265 recommendations, including prosecution of Jammeh and all the original junta members.

But speaking in a Standard exclusive yesterday, Honourable Almameh Gibba said: “Prosecuting Jammeh will be a recipe for instability and disunity. I have facts about what I am saying because he is still popular and has a strong fanbase that is unshakeable.”

Gibba said the TRRC has already caused enough damage and if Jammeh were to be prosecuted, it would put the country in disarray.

“The government should be careful of how they handle Jammeh’s situation. Therefore, I am appealing to all Gambians and the government to find ways of reconciling for the interest and wellbeing of this country. We cannot continue talking about Jammeh forever because we have more pressing issues to deal with,” he said.

Gibba said Jammeh should be given the opportunity to react to all the allegations against him. “That will give us the opportunity to know his accounts of what happened, forgive and reconcile as a people. We have a nation to fix and we cannot afford to be distracted,” he said. Gibba said supporters of the former president are not convinced that he was notified by the TRRC to testify at its proceedings. “They should show us proof that they have written to Jammeh because we are not convinced that he was notified,” Gibba said.

He said the government White Paper is just an opinion of the cabinet and it has no legal basis.

“The White Paper will go through a lot of processes including the parliament. So, anything contained in it and the report of the TRRC are just mere accusations because Jammeh should be heard before we ascertain whether those accusations are true or not,” he said. He said all those who testified at the TRRC claimed to have acted based on orders that nobody can verify whether Jammeh gave them or not. “It is easy to say Jammeh gave us the orders to go and kill so and so but who was there when Jammeh was giving the orders and where is the evidence to prove that he gave those orders? I am saying this because there are people who were blocked from testifying at the commission,” he said. He said the TRRC which should have been an element of reconciliation has, beyond imagination, further divided the Gambian people. “We have also seen the government picking and choosing which recommendations to accept or reject and when it comes to justice, there should be no pick and choose,” he said.

Gibba said he is still committed to introducing a private member’s bill to ask for Jammeh’s return.

“If that doesn’t work, I will make a motion in parliament. Therefore, I am still committed to seeing that Jammeh return to this country. If he is to be prosecuted, that aspect is not my area but he has to come back to his birth place,” he said.