Remembering April 14: ‘Worried’ victims doubtful about government’s implementation of TRRC recommendations

EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, THE GAMBIA:- The victims of human rights violations under the regime of former President Jammeh said they are worried and doubtful about whether the government will fully implement the recommendations of the TRRC.

The Victims of Jammeh’s 22-year rule shared their concerns during an online event in commemorating the protesters of April 14th 2016.

Today marks five years since Solo Sandeng and about dozen others protested for electoral reforms in The Gambia. The protest led to the death of Sandeng, a prominent member of UDP, at the hands of the National Intelligence Agency.

According to the victims, they are not having high expectations on the government’s readiness to fully implement the recommendations of the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC).

The TRRC was established by an act of parliament to investigate and establish an impartial historical record of human right violations, but to also consider reparations for the victims of abuses, promote reconciliation and promote non-reoccurrence.

The victims however, are worried that commission’s outcome could face the same faith as that of the Janneh Commission.

Muhammed Sandeng, a son of the late Solo Sandeng, said he thinks that there is a hindering closure in the whole situation.

“Our Dad’s remains have been lying there since 2018 and nothing has been done about it. It’s now a matter of us having to go and confront or ask for information from the ministry of justice otherwise we will not really get the information,” he said.

According to him, in normal circumstances one will probably say “they will give us periodic time ahead but that is not happening.”

“Looking at that and thinking about it seems practically impossible and very difficult when you think about attaining justice finally, it seems very far from it.”

A Gambian-Senegalese human rights activist, Fatou Jagne Senghore, said there were high hopes at the beginning of the Janneh Commission which was at the end turned down.

“When the report came out, they decided to pick and choose which recommendation they will implement and that has also casted really some discredit on the whole process which took years and lot of resources for only to see that must of those sighted in the report who committed serious crimes are still holding highly government offices,” she said.

She added that the Gambian civil society and the media must be more interested in the work of the TRRC and get their asks together, prepare so that “we don’t have a situation where this reports will not be in the drawers.”

Alagie Barrow, former head of investigations unit at the TRRC, believes that the government will not implement the commission’s recommendations unless it fits their agenda.

“Barrow and his government is not going to sit down and implement any of these TRRC recommendations, unless it fits their political agenda. If it fits that then they will, if it does not fit their political agenda they will not,” he alleged.

Meanwhile, the country’s Minister of Defense, Sheikh Omar Faye made a comment during his interview with the Fatu Network earlier this month, saying victims should stop crying over spilled milk and move on.

The said comment caused concern and distress to the victims whose long wait for closure hinges on the report and recommendation of the TRRC.

The victims perceived the minister’s view as a threat to their fight for justice and made them fear more of the implementation of the commission’s recommendation.

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