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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Letters to the Editor

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On Omar Janneh’s TRRC conflictions

Dear editor

The flaws in the handling of the TRCC, as outlined in the series of writings of a Dr Omar Janneh, have been given plenty of exposure in the local printed and online press recently. Just why his opinion merits so much exposure is a mystery and a topic for analysis in itself. In Dr Janneh’s opinion, the TRRC Act itself is flawed, the president should have no role in the TRRC so he is conflicted as is everyone else down the line, the executive secretary is conflicted so his selections for staff are conflicted, a crucial one being the director of research and investigations. The TRRC has no lawyers nor judges, at least one of the 11 commissioners recently announced should be disqualified (so far), the time period given for submitting objections to the Commission members is too short, the timing of the TRRC is premature, Gambians do not have the capacity to conduct a successful TRRC and on and on. That is plenty of issues! Fortunately, Dr Janneh, the self-appointed spokesperson for ‘fair-minded individuals, regional partners, AU, UN and donors’ has not been given a role in the TRRC – it would be stalled by his hand wringing.

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The only complaint having any substance Dr Janneh has been able to muster is that the appointed director of Research and Investigations Unit, Alhagie Barrow, is a convicted felon (in the USA) and a participant in the ‘unconstitutional’ attempted overthrow of the Government of The Gambia (that is, the Jammeh regime). He is not just ‘conflicted’ but also ineligible for any role in the TRRC. But I don’t see Mr Barrow listed as one of the 11 commissioners, so I am confused about why the requirements for commissioners listed in the TRRC Act should also apply to him.

Dr Janneh says overthrowing a regime is ‘unconstitutional’. A constitution is a document created by people, and corrupted by people. It is not like some sacred golden idol dropped from the heavens that citizens are compelled to kneel before in unquestioning devotion. Yahya Jammeh didn’t think that way either. The 30th December ‘terrorist coup attackers’ (to use Jammeh’s term) were trying to rid the country of a dictator who scoffed at the Gambian constitution. The reality is Gambia’s constitution was pushed aside and replaced by Jammeh’s own version of it. Dr Barrow and his accomplices in ‘unconstitutionality’ were not out to rid The Gambia of its constitution, but rather restore it. If someone is raping your mother, will you just stand there agonising over the legalities of how to get your mother back on her feet? Will you wait for an election to force the rapist to withdraw? Apparently not Dr Barrow and his comrades. I consider the 30 Dec ‘terrorist coup attackers’ patriots and heroes. From what I’ve read about Mr Barrow’s background, he is an ideal selection for the role.

Mr Janneh goes on to fault the selection of the 11 commissioners because it does not include any judicial types, learned academic types nor any ‘high profile’ expert types like himself, perhaps. Well, omitting these types is intentional. If I understand Executive Secretary Jallow’s strategy correctly, this TRRC intends to do things differently than other commissions that didn’t do so well reaching their ultimate objective – nurturing the ‘never again’ mindset in the citizenry. Mr Jallow has explained their strategy is to be more ‘inclusive’, meaning the general public is to have a greater role in this TRRC. Let the victims tell their stories in their own way, free from the mind-numbing legal rules and procedures – save all that for later in court if needed. Let Gambian citizens hear the stories. Hopefully the Truth will encourage many Gambians to shake the unfortunate habit of letting a dictator do their thinking for them.

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I must add that the handling of the creation of the TRRC, publicising its mission, and the process of recruiting then selecting it’s 11 commissioners and support staff, in my opinion, has been a well thought out, thorough, professional job well done so far. During my eleven years residing in The Gambia I have never witnessed any programme that has been as open, public and encouraging of public participation as the TRRC. The TRRC’s objectives and recruitment drive have been widely advertised in the local printed press since May 2018 and TRRC missionaries have been dispatched to the provinces to educate citizens. They’ve realised that the Internet, with its high cost, limited coverage and snail like speed – is not a good tool for reaching the average Gambian citizen. Let the TRRC move forward and do its good work. Over and out.

Amet Ngallan

Africa is being ruined by thieves we call leaders

Dear editor,

Africa has been politically backward and immature throughout the ages, with lots of violence, injustices and above all corrupt practices. Her children on the other hand, while thinking about better days to come their way, have been betrayed by people they voted into public offices.
Among many others, corruption, tribalism, nepotism and other abuses of office, continue to be the main issues that stagnate the progress of this great continent.
The major cause of these existing wrongdoings in our resource-rich continent is mainly poor leadership and governance. This practice does not spare any individual, anybody can be easily offended by these bad practices in the continent.

If care is not taken, the aforementioned coupled with conflicts and diseases will depopulate the continent to such an extent that it will never be able to compete in the international stage.
Imagine Africans killing each other and destroying the continent’s resources, all due to the big thieves we call leaders, who cling to power and loot all the continent’s resources. It is appalling to find out that those leaders don’t have hope in our healthcare and education system, because whenever their family members fall sick they will be rushed to health facilities abroad at the expense of the poor tax payers.
It is enough to mention the gun rule and slaughtering of people in Southern Cameroon, Libya, DRC, and Darfur, not to mention the killing of innocent civilians in Casamance, Southern Senegal. These are clear indications, that African leaders are themselves responsible for Africa’s underdevelopment, genocide and political turmoil.

Africa has now turned to be the land of sorrow. It is the continent that produces Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab – two terrorist organisations that orchestrate the killing of thousands of innocent youths, women and children. All these under the watch of our greedy heads of state.
Without a doubt, many citizens in Africa do not have trust in their leaders. This is because more often than not those leaders tend to abuse power for various reasons known to them. African leaders put their personal interests before those of their people in their dealings. Corruption, nepotism, and egoism are the order of the day for them. However, no sooner did they overcome these, Africa’s development will be propelled like a jumbo Jet. It is always better late than never to make amends.

Saidina Alieu Jarjou

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