In the sittings of the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC), it is becoming painfully clear that most – if not all – of the woes that The Gambia went through in the past quarter of a century or so were as a direct result of institutional failures. This is what led to the overthrowing of the then democratically elected government and thenceforth all resulting woes.
From the testimonies of almost all the witnesses who appeared so far, it had become apparent that the acts of commission or omission were such that they had little or no choice in the matter because they were following orders. Therefore, it can be seen that it was more of a system failure than individual.
Whether that cognizance will absolve the individuals or not is to be determined by the commission based on their probe. If they determine that the individuals had some level of responsibility in the actions then they will advise on what should be done to them; and how it should be done.
It has also become clear that many of the people who took up arms to overthrow the then government saw it as their duty to salvage the country and save it from destruction. If this is the case among soldiers, then a lot of work needs to be done to reorient our men and women in uniform so that they know what their roles and responsibilities are.
A very important aspect of the TRRC’s work is the #NeverAgain campaign which has to be a holistic approach not only to reform the institutions in the country but to also educate the masses on their roles, rights and responsibilities in a democracy.