Kemo Kinteh, I 100 percent agree with the content of your brilliant piece. The Gambia does not need Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission (TRRC); instead our situation calls for punitive justice. Before we pursue the road to reconciliation, we need to seek justice for the victims and their families first. What is stopping us from pursuing this route? We are currently prosecuting the nine NIA operatives charged with Solo Sandeng’s callous murder, which is the right thing. We can do the same for all other victims of the Jammeh dictatorship. There is no other viable way for us to guarantee peace and stability in the absence of punitive justice.
My fear about this TRRC is that its hearings will be hijacked by so many self-proclaimed victims whose only goal is to ensure that their selfish interest is fulfilled. In my view, the TRRC is not a necessity in our case. We have so many criminals who are not only walking scot-free in various communities but also destroying relevant evidence for their prosecution. The new administration must go after these people as soon as possible. We need to set better example by punishing the criminals who carried out heinous crimes. How can criminals reconcile with victims when there is no course of action to rectify their evil behaviours or acts? In fact, the TRRC may serve as positive reward mechanism to reinforce these negative behaviours that were committed during 22 years of military dictatorship.
The TRRC is simply either a venue for the criminals to express their criminalities without any behaviour modification intervention such as punitive justice or for criminals to hide or destroy their evil acts. We cannot expect the TRRC to be an effective crime prevention strategy or mechanism in a country where a culture of taking personal responsibility is virtually nonexistent. Who among the criminals will furnish the commission with nothing but the whole truth?