By Landing Ceesay
The interim leader of the Alliance for Patriotic, Re-orientation and Construction [APRC] Fabakary Tombong Jatta, alias FTJ has said that his party believes there commendations of the Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission [TRRC] should be ‘trashed like the Draft Constitution’.
“The result of the TRRC has already been rigged, an institution created to justify those judgments given by a clique of people in this country. We believe as a party when the TRRC report came out, it should be trashed and it should be in the wastepaper basket just like…the draft Constitution,” FTJ stated.
The veteran politician said the APRC has never been against the establishment of the TRRC while making these remarks on Monday in Banjul at a press conference, after his party handed over a petition to the government.
Speaking about the petition, Mr Jatta said the document is not about the recommendations of the Truth Commission because they are yet to see that one; but the appointments and the process of the commission; saying they think that the TRRC process has been ‘comprised very seriously’.
The former majority leader said they view the appointment of Dr Lamin J Sise as the Chairman of the TRRC as ‘illegal’ because he does not have the qualification of a High Court judge as per the qualification set for the appointment of the Chairperson of a Commission Of Inquiry in Section 201 [1b and c].
“If you refer to section201 of the 1997 Constitution, it made it clear who can be appointed into a commissioner of inquiry and who should chair a commission of enquiry whether is a one-man commission or more than two people. From all our findings and investigations, Dr Lamin J. Sise with all his expertise and experience is not qualified among many qualified people to take up that responsibility,” Interim leader of the former ruling party alleged.
Tombong Jatta claimed that Section201 (1b,c) of the 1997 Constitution which provides that a person shall not be appointed the chairperson of a commission of inquiry unless he or she has been a judge of a superior court whether in the Gambia or outside; or he or she is qualified to be appointed a judge of a superior court disqualified Lamin J. Sise to be appointed as the TRRC chairman.
However, as per the composition of the commission, the TRRC Act has specified the criteria for the appointment of the commissioners by the President- article 5 (2) states that the President shall appoint the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson from amongst the commissioners, and article 5 (3) states that a person shall not be qualified for appointment as a commissioner, if he or she- is known to be actively involved in a political party; is an un-discharged bankrupt; or has been convicted of a felony.
The Truth, Reconciliation, and Reparations Commission [TRRC] was established in 2017 by an act of Parliament to investigate the alleged Human rights violations that occurred in the 22years rule of exiled former Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh.
The commission began public hearings in 2018 and concluded it last month, and scheduled to submit its report with recommendations to President Adama Barrow on 30th of July 2021, for consideration.
Within 30 days of receiving the report, the government is obliged to submit a copy of it to the National Assembly, United Nations Secretary-General and such other regional and international organisations as the Minister may determine as well as the public, among others.