Never Again – Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC)


By Ebrima Kamara

TRRC´s “never again”, slogan, clearly indicate a focus on the punitive and not the reconciliatory. It is based on the idea that if you punish a criminal s/he will learn from his/her mistakes. Focus is not on the reformative aspect that enables Restoration, Rehabilitation and Reconciliation (RRR). Putting someone to “shame” has a conciliating effect. There are many methods of rehabilitation and restoration than the punitive. Shame is one of the most effective methods to restore moral bankruptcy. Even if a criminal is not prosecuted and send to prison, s/he can learn his/her lesson by being put to shame. TRRC´s threat of imprisoning or and shaming culprits has not prevented nor ended the corrupt and antisocial behaviour of its witnesses. Those who are supposedly guilty or assumed to be responsible for crimes committed under the era of dictatorship are rewarded by reinstatement. Those who are supposed to have learnt from their shame are shamelessly roaming our streets hoping to get back their jobs. So, both the threat of prison and shame are not able to reconcile us or repair damages. We are now left with only the “TRUTH”. What then is left of the objective of the TRRC TRRC´s most important role is to collect evidence in both material and narrative forms that can go down in history as objective facts that cannot be falsified. That will help us to pass on the true and not a revisionist history to posterity. That factfinding effort and documentation of who did what, why and when will help us identify what a Gambian citizen is capable of. With that knowledge we will be able to identify similar behaviours. TRRC has proven people’s minds could be changed and that democracy rests on the idea that people can change, and that to bring about the change we envision requires hard work and consistency. The price of inconsistency is not only corruption but a moral decadence that destroys the social fabric