By Isatou Jawara
The minister of Women’s Affairs overseeing the vice presidency has urged Gambians to strive hard to put national interest above personal interests.
Fatoumatta Jallow-Tambajang was speaking at the consultation forum on transitional justice in the Gambia for the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission held from 8-9 August at Paradise Suites Hotel.
“I am proud of Gambians for the patience and understanding during the trying period of our country’s history. The Gambia belongs to all of us and therefore its development should be collective and responsibility of all irrespective of your tribe or political affiliation. We must strive to put national interest above personal interest at all times for The Gambia is bigger than any one of us,” VP overseer said.
The consultation forum was organized by the African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies in collarboration with Gender Action Team. It is meant to promote the national reconciliation, healing and foster social cohesion.
“During civil unrests, armed conflicts or wars; it is the women and children who suffer the most. Should violence have erupted during the impasse, women and children; especially girls would have suffered the most. Even those that sought temporary shelter within the country and those that went into Senegal and Guinea Bissau were women and children.
“We must acknowledge the victims of the past regime for the truth and reconciliation commission gender dimension is fundamental and must be part of it.
“Government is committed to the rule of law, democracy and human rights which are very important for national development. To this end, the establishment of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) will be priorities in the governance sector of the recently adopted National Development Plan (NDP),” she said.
She added: “Development cannot be achieved without peace so is justice and reconciliation without truth. The truth, they say is a bitter pill. But if one is sick and must take a bitter pill to get well, then one must be ready to take the pill. One bitter pill in the form of a survivor story will be shared with participants to help us understand the need for national healing and reconciliation.”
Andrew Chigovera, the Chairman of African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies (ACDHRS,) also speaking at the occasion, said: “The Gambia won global attention in January this year when it peacefully resolved the political crisis that arose following December, 2016 Presidential election. The hashtag Gambia Has Decided became so popular over the short period on social media. I congratulate all Gambians for exercising patience and resilience during the trying moment in your country’s history.”