The plight of Fa Sarjo Manneh [the father of disappeared Gambian journalist Chief Ebrima Manneh] for me an inconceivable pain. I have lamented many times about the fate of Chief Manneh and the sorrow the aged Dad is going through all these years. And I am equally sad that he may die without knowing the faith of his son or the conditions under which he was killed. It is a very painful experience. We do know that the interior minister has paneled a committee for lost persons and we are thankfully aware of the tremendous effort the interior minister is personally undertaking to locate all disappeared persons. A big gratitude!
That makes the case of Fa Sarjo Manneh unbearable. Who killed chief Manneh is clear? All indices point to Monster Jammeh’s doorstep. How was he killed? Hush. Where was he killed? HUSH! Where was he buried? HUSH! Who knows the whereabout of his grave or the spot his body was dumped? HUSH! How was he buried! HUSH! These are the nightmares that torment the aged father. His demand to know “who killed my son” embodies all the above unknowns!
The solution to this problem may lie in the following actions:
– A Programme on GRTS specifically tailored to finding disappeared people under Jammeh regime. This will include a panel of serious law enforcement experts who will take calls from the broader citizenry on leads and report back findings in the subsequent episodes.
– Setup a hotline at the police department where people can call to report anything they know and these calls be kept anonymous. This approach will encourage people with knowledge of the crimes to report eyewitness accounts or third-party information, without fearing for their lives or property or social scorn.
– Start a commission of enquiry to judicially work on the atrocities committed by Jammeh. This official arm of the courts will document all the above initiatives and prepare the ground for the legal sanctioning of the perpetrators of these heinous crimes under Jammeh.
– Immediate start of confiscating Jammeh and associates’ financial entities in the country. I believe this is an area where it will really hurt. State can legally confiscate the entities under the auspice of legal enquiry with conditions for returning these assets tied to the outcome of the enquiries. My believe is that once these people with eyewitness know that the fate of their wealth is tied to coming clean and giving vital information to the state, the more they will be willing to divulge the secrets. You cannot expect them to voluntarily come out and provide witness accounts.
Fully aware that the authorities have good police and legal minds working on the cases and might have looked into all the above inputs, I do hope my contribution could open other afterthoughts in pursuing these cases. The means to get to the bottom of these atrocities must be exhausted, so that the aged Fa Sarjo Manneh may pass away with sadness but definitive certainty about his son’s fate.