When Shall We Finish Telling Jammeh’s Story?

It is almost two years since former President Yahya Jammeh had been dislodged from power. December 1st 2016 will forever be remembered as the day oppressed Gambians took back their country from a man who first ascended to power through a coup d’etat and contested election after election bragging to “rule The Gambia for a billion years.” Mr. Jammeh sees himself as the only qualified, competent and courageous Gambian to rule Africa’s smallest country on mainland. Jammeh is not alone struggling with this wishful thinking or belief. His business associates, partners in crime and supporters all believe that Jammeh’s aacension to power is ordained by Allah and that he is destine to rule until he hands over the country at the time of his choosing. Even after losing the election and forced to live in exile, Yahya Jammeh’s hardcore APRC militants think the man whose leadership has left behind a tribally polarised country, will come back to rule the people he had inflicted unhealed wounds on. That is the height of madness. The belief or hope that Jammeh will bounce back is unthinkable, especially in the midst of startling revelations of his or government’s dirt. One wonders whether the ink or key board will finish writing Jammeh’s story. The truth is that Gambians will know not the stories of Jammeh’s victims secretly murdered or disappeared. It is our imagination that each of them has got an untold story they never had the chance to tell. Besides, the heavily drugged killer squad members often didn’t know the reasons for killing their victims. “All we wait for is the order from Kebba (referring to Yahya Jammeh) to finish anybody,” one killer squad member admitted. “Many atimes only Sanna Manjang would know what happened to the dead bodies. He would sometimes load the bodies in bags and disappear with them.” With Sanna Manjang on the loose many vital questions of who killed, why, when and how will not be answered. All efforts must be made to bring not only the victims and their family before the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission also the killers and their accomplices. Unless the TRRC help provides answers to lingering unanswered questions, its whole purpose and essence will be diluted and defeated. When that happens, opponents of the government will then have field day with their belaboured rhetoric that “this government has failed us. Jammeh should have stayed in power.” Let the TRRC members understand that their ability to function as expected will not bring back the murdered or disappeared souls but help the nation heal its wounds. It will bring closure. As members of society the Commissioners’ failure to perform well will catch up with them – sooner or later. Evidently, this Commission will not nail the coffin on the former regime since it is not mandated to provide. Gambians want Truth and Justice before arriving at Reconciliation. Unsatisfied citizens still have the recourse to seek for Justice at the courts, though this can costly, difficult mission. The information and evidence dearth are among the real hurdles. Gambians must also be willing to provide vital leads to the Commission and voluntarily appear before it whenever the need arises. With concerted effort, we can make the TRRC a model worth emulating.


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