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Saturday, October 23, 2021

The TRRC and the people’s pound of flesh

By Arac Remes

The TRRC is not a court and its findings and recommendations shall be submitted to the President and the President shall decide which course of action is in the best interest of the nation.

Some personal abuses may be prosecutable and some by those who admitted or pleaded for forgiveness may be recommended for amnesty.

But the most critical are the planning, overthrow of the 1970 Constitution, institution and rule of the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council and Section 232 gives the AFPRC and all its officials full immunity for all acts and omissions before during and after the July 22nd 1994 Coup and up to the coming into effect of the 1997 Constitution. That means to go after, despite the unconstitutional prosecution or persecution of Rtd Captain Yankuba Touray, the entrenched Schedule 2 of Section 232 must be amended via Referendum. That is not only unlikely but probably ill advised.

Further the amount of conflicting witness statements and testimonies and the selective nature of the Counsel and their questioning as well as the failure of the Chairpersons to keep control make it unlikely that we can expect any prosecution but persecution and even the cases may not withstand legal scrutiny just like the Contempt case against Rtd Captain Yankuba Touray was thrown out and as likely will be the murder case against him.

We will be best advised to accept that mistakes happen and the State assume responsibility and make amends to all victims including former perpetrators turned victim.
Otherwise we risk the TRRC becoming a bigger instrument of abuse of power and due process.

It may be good that Essa Faal’s persecutorial and inquisitional style, as inappropriate and unlawful as it is, may just be the “pound of flesh” some need to finally get over, forgive or reconcile and allow us to move forward without forgetting the past, but we cannot continue to live in the past.

The AFPRC may have crushed the coupists and executed some of them summarily but the other guilty parties include those that colluded with them, financed them and waited in the wings to benefit and when the “boys” failed and some lost their lives, their backers ran and abandoned their young families.

The young soldiers were also the victims but most of the plotting and financing and influence were older people.

Our nation must now stop the hating and tearing apart and start the healing.
The two originators of the 1994 Coup have apologised and that should suffice. We can leave the rest to God, as we are a believing people or risk tearing apart beyond repair.
Absolutes are never right. Moderation is advised in all things.

The near universal disgust that welcomed the one-sided and unjust Janneh Commission of Inquiry Report and its White Paper will be a joke compared to the already SELECTIVE and Prejudicial TRRC, with its cast of conflicted and unfit characters.

To wit, further to the immunity of Section 232, former President Jammeh has the immunity of former Presidents under Section 69, which requires the National Assembly to vote by two-thirds to lift and President to assent. Barrow will be stupid to accept and set that precedent because by his own admission and that of his allies, his supporters and unknown donors have given him in excess of GMD 300 million and built his Mankamang Kunda Residence as well as given him hundreds of vehicles and the two houses in Senegal, all in total breach of the Code of conduct of Public Officers section 222, and that includes the First Lady and the Kodohlay GMD 35 million incident and the many gifts and land she has allegedly received.

In addition, the TRRC Lead Counsel did hold the UDP Leader to task for the death of APRC driver Alieu Njie, that no one was ever held to account for and the lawyer Darbo, never accepted direct or moral responsibility and never asked for amnesty, just to make the point that even the flawed TRRC can pose a challenge to other than the former Jammeh regime officials.

Finally the competence, legal, moral or otherwise of the Commissioners leave much to be desired as prejudicial statements or issuances are a norm and the eminent Chair has been AWOL most of the time, or derelict in his duties while the Vice Chair lacks the pedigree and is conflicted and also her prejudicial statements should have had her excused but what has ever been right with anything Baa Tambadou has led. He has a total disregard for the Law and Due Process and/or either willful or plain ignorance and incompetence.

The TRRC if acted upon like the Janneh Commission Report will be a disaster unless we have the prudence to make it a public flaying of those largely perceived as having committed the worst transgressions and making reparations to those that suffered the most and then entrusting vengeance to the Lord, close that chapter and move on.
Otherwise as Shylock, we cannot get our pound of flesh without shedding blood and may end up losing our honour as well as our wealth, and never getting our pound of flesh.
This is our message to the Hakilima- those that can read or hear and reflect. Even the Scriptures are directed to them. The Wollof say junja doyyna borom hel: a word to the wise suffices.

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