EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: Former beauty queen of Gambia’s exiled former president Yahya Jammeh’s organised basic and secondary school beauty pageant, who became the first girl to make public accusation of rape against Mr Jammeh, is expected to appear before the country’s truth-seeking commission, TRRC, tomorrow.
Sources told Eye Africa tv that Fatou Toufah Jallow will testify in connection to her rape allegation against Mr Jammeh.
In June, Ms Jallow started public campaign demanding Mr Jammeh to be brought to justice for raping her, and perhaps many other young girls during his 22-year rule of the tiny West African nation.
She was offered asylum in Canada in 2015, from where she started the campaign two years after the fall of Mr Jammeh in the 2016 general elections. She is expected to answer questions from the Commission’s counsel and commissioners on issues relating to her sexual violence allegations and how she participated in the pageant.
In July, Ms Jallow came to The Gambia and was celebrated as a heroin for having the bravery to be the first girl to publicly expose Mr Jammeh’s mafia tactics while disguising as a faithful man with fear in Allah.
During her campaign while in The Gambia, Ms Jallow meet officials of Gambia Center for Victims of Human Right Violations and held press conferences where she encouraged other young girls who were abused by Mr Jammeh to have the courage to come out to public and speak.
She told the New York Times in a June interview that when she was crowned beauty queen of the student beauty pageant, Mr Jammeh’s advice to her and other contestants was that they should not rush to marry. but use the pageant’s scholarship prize to fulfill their dreams.
On Wednesday, director of basic and secondary education at the ministry of basic and secondary education testified before the commission and made several revelations on how Mr Jammeh used to give directions for the conduction of the pageant.
Although, she said not one of the students whose participation process in the pageant will, in normal circumstances pass through her had ever complaint of harassment from Mr Jammeh. She said their parents also never had, but agreed that there were times of unofficial rumour of some of the girls having issues.
Ms Jallow alleged that Mr Jammeh asked for her hand in marriage but she refused. “I thought it was a joke. I was very naïve. I didn’t know how brutal he was,” she told the New York Times.
Since Mr Jammeh’s defeat in 2016 general elections and his subsequent going into exile in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, the Barrow government instituted several commissions to probe into his administration’s activities, including the Commission of Inquiry into his financial activities with individuals, private and public institutions.
That commission has concluded and provided a report with recommendations including banning of Mr Jammeh and several of his inner-circles from holding public offices in The Gambia for life, which were approved. The government however rejected the commission’s recommendation to fired President Barrow’s chief of protocol, Alhagie Ousman Ceesay, who was one of former President Jammeh’s finest chief protocol for aiding him.