By Sidi N. Bojang

I have no objection to Samateh’s view point. I am with the Proposition that there are certain Norms, Values and Moral Ethics that all Societies must live and Sustain itself with.These Norms help regulate a given Society’s Individuals and Groups into a Reasonable, Orderly, and Predictable enclave within a given geographical​ place. It is these Norms that guide the Individual and Group’s through their interactions and transactions at a micro and macro level with minimum conflict or violence. Where the Norms break down, “Anomie” or Normlessness takes over either temporarily or intermittently in the form of Conflict and or Violence. No one Nation State or Society has a monopoly of Having Norms or being in a state of Anomie. The Concepts​ of Truth and Reconciliation should Not be confused with the Concept of Justice, or Due Process and Equal Protection. Under the Truth and Reconciliation, the Victims and the Perpetrators​ are not in an Adversarial Contest or Battle in an Open Court. However, they are infact, in a Public Court of Repentance and Transformative Journey of Baptism by Confession, Self Disclosure and Punishment for Transgressing against a given Societie’s Norms, and Values. It is a Process, not an that would Resolve and Mitigate all feelings and pain of all victims at once and in a uniform and instantly. Nor is it meant to instantly cut out the Emotional and Physical anguish the Victims or Victim’s Family, Friends and Relatives have. It is meant to Act as a Therapeutic and Mitigating Venue or “Bantaba” where traditionally​, elders father to resolve Conflicts within our Community. The Concept of Justice, Due Process and Equal Protection Before the Law, is one of Adversarial Contest between the Victim and the Accused by Proxy, that is, Attorney V. the Prosecutor with the Judge acting as a Referee to guide the Process within Established Rules and Regulations (established norms). The Adversarial Contest or Battle inherit with the Concept of Justice or Due Process within​ a Court Setting, I would argue is not suited to handle the type of our present predicament in the Gambia. The courts are not equipped with the qualified personnel, nor does​ it have the means of carrying out such an expensive endeavor to go through the Potential hundreds of Potentially​ guilty by association Individuals who would be implicated by others who may be by definition more involved in the alleged crimes against their fellow Gambians. What Gambians must be concerned with, as much as those of the Victims and their Families and Relatives need for Justice, and Closure, is the Real and Appearance that Justice is been applied Equally and Fairly to all and Not to a Select Section or Group within the Gambia while others “Equally Guilty” or are Victims are left to the Whims of those in Power. The Concept of Truth and Reconciliation is one of Restorative Justice as Opposed to Punitive Justice. Truth and Reconciliation is more of a Healing and Forgiveness Process as Opposed to an Eye for an Eye and a Pound of Flesh…Such an approach would temporarily satisfy the Victims and their Families and Relatives. But in the Long run, it reaches a deminishing return and leaves the Victims devoid of the prior satisfaction and become better at the feeling that they are still not healed or come to terms with their loss. How many times as a kid or an adult, have we retaliated against those who hurt us, and then later feel remorse but cannot undo the deed? We must as a Nation State and a People demand that Justice be done in a manner that is Culturally and Socially Acceptable and Meaningful to the Victims, Families and Relatives’ Emotional and Psychological State. This would require a Deliberate and Careful Process that involves and encourages the Participation of a Cross Section of the Victims and Non Victims alike, the Input of the Accused and their Families, Relatives and Neighbors. This would require a Decentralized and Highly Transparent and Accessible Process that is Non Partisan and Non Ethnic Group Based. It Needs to Pass the Test of Zero Witch Hunting Adventures of Selective Justice. The Composition and Make Up of the TRC Members Should Reflect the Gambian Ethnic Groups​ and Society. TRC Members Should be Trustworthy Individuals who are willing to be brave enough to Make the kind of Decisions that are Not for Popularity or Profit. TRC Members Should be from all Levels of the Gambian Social Strata and Background. Inorder words, they should be able to Work Independently​ without the Influence and Interference of the stakeholders​, the politicians, the media, business man, and others with deep pockets. In a nutshell, The Gambia and Gambians need a Truth and Reconciliation Commission as much as they need Justice. How it is Put together, Managed and Implemented would require a lot of Thought, Process and in-depth Transparency at all levels.

Ends

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