EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, THE GAMBIA:- As President Adama Barrow leaves for Guinea, it is likely that the fate of exiled former president will dominate the diplomatic engagements.
The three-day state visit starting Thursday 3rd June comes barely a week after the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission (TRRC) hinted that ex-president Jammeh must be tried for crimes against humanity following the closure of public hearings.
These issues, according to political analysts, will take center stage when Barrow holds a tete–a-tete with his Guinean counterpart.
Guinean President Alpha Conde is among Jammeh’s key allies who played instrumental role in negotiating the terms that sent the ex-President on exile following the 2017 political earthquake in The Gambia.
The Guinean leader provided the flight that took away Jammeh to Equatorial Guinea, with a brief stop in Conakry.
With the party of the former president seen as a key player in determining who the next president will be, the National Peoples’ Party of Adama Barrow is posing itself as the favorite to win approval of the former ruling party.
However, the APRC had always made it clear that for a possible coalition ahead of December polls, the return of Jammeh back to The Gambia remains the prime basis.
Malang B.S. Bojang, a PhD candidate in Political Science and Public Administration at Kocaeli University in Turkey, observed that president Conde could be the game changer for Barrow since he is close to Jammeh.
“I am of the opinion that coalition talk is currently at standstill and that will not favor NPP,” he said, adding that how to bring APRC to the table will be top of the agenda in Conakry.
According to Bojang, the two parties forming a coalition will defeat the purpose of TRRC whose recommendations are keenly awaited.
“NPP and APRC joining force will defeat the purpose of TRRC and will then be waste of tax payers’ money,” he said.
As he explained, Jammeh’s victims and their families will be further traumatized and the country will be more polarized.
“This will in fact have an impact on the already fragile peace and security of The Gambia,” the PhD candidate said.
But according to a statement from the presidency, the visit will “reinforce the ties between the two governments and the strong bond shared by Gambians and Guineans.”
“President Conde was among the regional leaders of ECOWAS who played a significant role during the political impasse following the 2016 Presidential elections in The Gambia,” it noted.
The political impasse came as a result of Jammeh’s back-tracking after initially conceding defeat to Barrow, saying the vote was flawed and demanding a new ballot.
Testimonies of 392 witnesses, mainly victims and self-confessed perpetrators, confirmed before the TRRC alleged human rights violations under the 22-year rule of President Jammeh.
While some of the testimonies shocked many Gambians, they also caused pains and bewilderment in many households.