Opinion: Let’s Not Be Unreasonably Intransigent!
By Musa Bah:
I have read on many Facebook Timelines, folks barraging the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) for allowing - nay - facilitating the reconciliation of former vice chairperson of the AFPC regime, Mr Sanna Sabally and former defense minister, Mr Edward Singhateh on their premises.
The grouse with the TRRC, it seems, is that Edward Singhateh is seen to have lied to the Commission and therefore it was not sensitive to the plight of the victims. This, they argue, makes it inappropriate for the TRRC to host the event of the reconciliation to be beamed around the world.
I am no fan of Edward Singhateh, Sanna Sabally or indeed any of the junta members of the AFPRC; but, I think it won’t pay to be overly intransigent. True, these people are alleged to have committed heinous crimes (emphasis on alleged as they have not been convicted by a competent court of law), it doesn’t change the basic fact that they are human beings, Gambians for that matter, and need to - have to - be in the reconciliation and peace building process.
Many people who raise this issue refer to the inappropriateness of the timing. They argue that as Singhateh lied to the Commission, his actions must have reopened the wounds of the family of Mr Ousman Koro Ceesay of blessed memory. Indeed, every Gambian should be thinking of Mr Ceesay and empathize with his family but it is very likely that Koro Ceesay would have loved to see that this country heals and attains and maintains peace.
The part of the TRRC mandate that seeks reconciliation is without a doubt geared towards the maintenance and sustenance of peace and stability through reconciliation and justice. The fact that a witness is seen to have lied at the TRRC should not deprive him/her of the chance to reconcile with a person s/he has wronged or who has wronged him. This is the whole point of the TRRC, in fact.
The reconciliation of Edward Singhateh and Sanna Sabbally in no way exonerates them from the alleged crimes and if the TRRC recommends that they be prosecuted, it will happen in the right manner and time. If they are to face justice to pay for their crimes, they will.
It is important that we keep this overarching objective of peace in mind. Otherwise, we may be carried away by emotions which may not be very good for our country. Let us learn from other countries that suffered similar or worse fates and see how they were able to heal and not take the route to vengeance.
South Africa is a case in point. Had Nelson Mandela insisted on retribution, that country could have or would have been in flames by now. But, he chose to focus on peace and stability instead. That did not in any way mean that perpetrators were not prosecuted. True, it is slow but it is far better than the alternative.
It is understandable that the family of Mr Ousman Koro Ceesay and their loved ones would want to see his murderers brought to justice; in fact, all genuine Gambians want that, but if we were to descend into chaos, (God forbid) that process would be made even more difficult if not impossible.
The Gambia is such a small and closely knitted country that we cannot afford to go the other route. We can only have peace and tranquility. That is the only thing suitable for a small nation like ours.
We must do everything in our power to ensure that justice is served for the victims of the former regime and if that means we swallow bitter pills along the way, then bring the Denatonium Benzoate!
Editors note: Views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Gunjur Online. Got an opinion article? send it to us at GunjurNewsOnline@gmail.com