By Tabora Bojang
Momodou Lamin Gassama, former aide to President Jawara has said system enablers and perpetrators responsible for meting out atrocities such as torture must be flushed out of the system to promote any viable means of reconciliation in the country.
The former army captain who testified before the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission said the Barrow government should not wait for the end of the commission to carry on this exercise.
He said that the bare minimum the victims expect is to see “these people relieved of their duties” warning that the country risks failing its reconciliation targets if perpetrators especially in the army continue to serve in their capacities.
He reiterated: “Those people who are still in position of influence within our current government having meted this kind of atrocities either by torture – which the Qur’an described as worse than death… to see them still serving is not something that is going to promote reconciliation.
“We want to forgive but we cannot forgive and then expect you to carry on the benefits of what you have gained by virtue of the position you hold now when the rest of these victims’ families are languishing and they are struggling. How can we forgive them while they still maintain their positions within the government whether here or abroad or in any diplomatic career?
“We are not accusing or calling for their prosecution because they were one time our very good brothers but you cannot come and commit all those things and still want to maintain those positions, especially in the army that is unacceptable and the whole country needs to speak out against it.”
Recalling the incidences leading to the 1994 coup the witness told the commission that the sets of circumstances leading to the coup were all out of the odd because Jammeh did not have the capacity to lead a coup alleging that it was a conspiracy that involved senior military officers in the army.
He said secondary information later reported that former vice president Saihou Sabally who was also the minister of defence at the time was said to have been a complicit conspirator in the 1994 coup but he said this was not substantive, as he did not have firsthand information proving it.
He claimed that by virtue of his position, Sabally should be aware of everything that was going on within the army barracks.