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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Singhatey’s day of reckoning nears

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By Lamin Cham

One of the most talked about and adversely mentioned persons at the Truth Commission, Edward Singhatey is expected to testify later this week.

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The former powerful member of the AFPRC military junta has been named by several witnesses to have allegedly taken an active part in the summary execution of about dozen soldiers accused of plotting a coup in 1994 and the barbaric bludgeoning of former finance minister Ousman Koro Ceesay in June 1995.

Mr Singhatey has never publicly responded or commented on these allegations which were in fact touted well before the TRRC was set up.

A former defence minister, Mr Singhatey wielded great influence under the Junta but quietly left the subsequent civilian government to pursue a career in law and had recently served as vice president of the Ecowas commission.

Clearly the most eloquent of the Junta members, Singhatey was also widely admired but recent revelations at the TRRC alleged that he could also be not too pleasant in temperament.

Two of his former colleagues, Sanna Sabally and Yankuba Touray came out of the TRRC with different experiences.

While Sanna, who even alleged that Singhatey was key in his unceremonious ousting in January 1995, came clean on his role in the execution of the November 11 soldiers, Yankuba Touray refused to talk about anything claiming the Junta is protected by the constitution from any accountability over their actions.

His refusal to testify sparked public outrage and subsequently earned him a charge over the murder of Ousman Koro Ceesay.

Singhatey, who followed both scenarios from abroad must now chart his own history.

His arrival back into the country over the weekend and speculations about his imminent appearance at the commission occupied debate on social media.

The TRRC, which has been preparing the public for sessions on sexual violence, was forced to contain the boiling public excitement of his expected arrival with the following press statement:
“The TRRC wishes to inform the general public that speculations and reports making the rounds that former AFPRC vice chairman Edward Singhatey will appear before the Commission on Monday, October 14 are not entirely accurate.

“While we can confirm that Mr Singhatey is indeed in The Gambia, it is not likely that he will appear before the Commission on Monday.

“We expect that he will appear sometime during the week, most likely on Wednesday and / or Thursday.

“The session starting Monday will focus on sexual and gender-based violence, but the Commission hopes to hear testimonies on other issues during the three-week period.”

Sources however told The Standard that there indeed was a plan to get Singhatey testify today, Monday, but the commission chose not to deviate from their already much published schedule which is gender-based violence.

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