By Madi Jobarteh
It is indeed a great initiative that the Gambia Government has provided fifty million dalasi to TRRC for the welfare of victims of the Yaya Jammeh Tyranny. This is commendable, long overdue and in the right direction.
What is even more remarkable with this gesture is that it is the Terror-In-Chief Yaya Jammeh who is paying for his own crimes out of the people’s wealth that he stole. This is what is called justice in its true sense. He caused the harm and from him we treat the harm. Of course, his own full day of reckoning is coming sooner than he expects when he will be placed in a dock in full view of his victims and citizens and then sent behind bars for 150 years!
Victims of the Dictatorship have been suffering for long in body and mind beyond imagination. Therefore, one would have expected that this gesture should have even come much earlier than this especially when there were offers to take care of April 10 and 11 Victims in Turkey. Among the victims of April and May 2016 many have died already who could have probably been saved if there was such substantive support from the beginning.
That notwithstanding the Government deserves commendation for putting action to its words that it will cater for victims. Fifty million dalasi indeed is a huge among of money. But the pain of victims far surpasses this amount, hence it is also heartfelt when the Government described it as an initial amount, meaning more funding would be coming to address the plight of victims.
No one is asking that victims be fully restored to their previous state before they were victimised in the first place. However, it is necessary and important that victims be catered for in a way that essentially restores their rights and dignity significantly which means considerably enhancing their social and economic wellbeing. Some victims need urgent health care while others need to get education or skills in order to become fully independent, self-reliant and live with their self-esteem and dignity.
The other issue one needs to highlight about these funds is their transparent, judicious and efficient management. Therefore, one needs to shout out to TRRC that we are also watching the use of these funds to ensure that victims and only victims are the beneficiary for the right reasons. I have no doubts in the leadership of the TRRC that they will ensure that transparency and accountability will prevail.
I am sure TRRC will ensure that in the provision of the necessary goods and services as forms of reparation for victims they will be guided only by their conscience, the law and the best interest of victims and nothing else. This is important to highlight because the victim population is diverse – from the political, to the ethnic, to the religion and region to gender and age. Hence serious consideration is necessary where there is so much diversity of victims in order to ensure that no victim feels unfairly treated on account of his or her status while there are also no negative public perceptions about who has benefited or not. I trust the TRRC has more than enough capacity and competence to handle this.
Once again, I wish to indeed commend the Barrow Government and especially the Minister of Justice Abubakar Baa Tambadou for this remarkable decision. For the Minster in particular, we have seen under his watch how his Ministry continues to spearhead various compensations for various victims of Jammeh and we hope this trend will continue in order to repair the soul of the Gambia and reconcile our conscience with truth and justice once and for all.
For the Gambia Our Homeland