It is indeed worrying to see our learned and respected Dr. Baba Galleh Jallow completely deviating from the mandate of TRRC and directing this Commission to become more of a civil organization. This is evidenced when Dr Jallow stated “In the meantime, the TRRC believes that work on the prevention of future dictatorship, the healing of social fractures, the promotion of national unity and the empowerment of the Gambian people can happen through an ongoing process of national engagement and conversation across political, ethnic and religious lines. The TRRC is therefore conceptualized as both a formal transitional justice mechanism and a transformative cultural institution that, through creative engagement with the Gambian public – civil society organizations, educational institutions, and grassroots community structures – will ensure that by the end of its mandate, the “never again” aspect of its mission would have been largely accomplished.”
The empowerment of The Gambian people is not the responsibility or business of the TRRC because it is neither a political party nor a civil organization. It is also not the business of the TRRC to engage people across political, ethnic and religious lines so as to act as a transformative cultural institution. Dr Jallow is basically deviating from his mandate and he is becoming too professorial in this role. The empowerment of Gambian people can be done through civil education organizations or political parties. Dr Jallow is too ambitious and broad, I am afraid we will end up achieving nothing if our objective is not specific and concise. TRRC cannot deal with entire structural, cultural, religious, political, ethnic problems of 22 years of dictatorship and at same time focus on finding factual evidence about crimes being committed. I would recommend that legal minded people should be appointed to work with Dr Jallow. Seasoned law enforcement, or intelligent officials would also be ideal choice in this process. I also think we should have behavioral clinical experts or clinical psychologists. In other words we need to have people who are expertise in investigation, human behavior, trauma, legal and intelligence to be able to successfully work with Dr. Jallow. The reason why Janneh Commission is doing good job is because it comprises of people who are skillful in their job and they are legally minded endowed with financial and investigative skills. As an articulate and great communicator, Dr. Jallow can effectively communicate the work of this commission when he is guided by skillful experts. Otherwise the way he is articulating the mandate at the moment, TRRC will be a failure and in that case it become a civil organization which will not serve its purpose. We have to look at the Why of the TRRC first before thinking of its What and How. There will be no ambiguity when the Why is clearly defined.