The arrest of additional former NIA operatives in the Gambia sends a clear message that there cannot be reconciliation without accountability and justice for innocent victims. That No citizen has the right, the power or the authority to not only order the arbitrary arrest, torture and killings of Gambian citizens, but participate, supervise or witness crimes against citizens and decide to look the other way. The arrest further buttressed that Gambia is back to being a country of laws and therefore anybody who willfully, deliberately and illegally took part in torture, rape and killing of citizens must be held accountable.
Every Gambian citizen who takes an oath of office or signed an appointment letter to serve the government has the obligation and duty to operate within the confines of Gambian and International law. From the President, cabinet ministers, public officials, security apparatus all swore to protect the lives, liberty and personal property of citizens. When these public officials who are paid by tax payers negate their duties and carry out illegal acts being it crimes against citizens, economic crimes, looting or illegal use of public resources outside the boundaries of their duties are in violation of the law. President Jammeh and his notorious operatives had no right to carryout illegal orders against Gambian law. Therefore the new government must investigate crimes both economic and violations of the rights of Gambian citizens and bring them to book.
Contrary to what some disgruntled, unpatriotic citizens who lost their illegal unearned privileges wants you to believe, the arrest of former NIA officials is a step in the right direction to hold citizens accountable for crimes they allegedly committed. Unlike their inhumane actions and brutality against citizens denying them the right to due process, the new government must treat those arrested lawfully and accord them the due process of the law. The government must show that they are the better side and therefore are going to accord them the very rights to due process and to life they denied other citizens. It is encouraging to see that within 72 hours of their arrest they have been brought before a competent judge in a court of law not occupied by a mercenary Judge paid to serve the dictator. The police, minister of interior and the justice minister must ensure rights of those detained are protected and not tortured for revenge.
No society can progress without law and order and due process equally accorded to citizens and inhabitants of that land. Jungle justice and inhumane manhandling of citizens in clear violations of the constitution and fundamental human rights of citizens cannot and must not be endured. There was absolutely no reason for Solo Sandeng and UDP operatives to be tortured to death and bodies dumped like vultures. There was no reason why military officers who were accused of wanting to overthrow the government deserved to be summarily executed in cold blood without due process. Any and all citizens who have become victims of the callous Jammeh regime must be accorded a day in court before the country can move forward. In fact, no other citizen has the moral right to ask for the country to move forward without demanding that victims not only be heard but justice be seen to be delivered for the ultimate priced they paid with their love ones’ lives. It would be a moral failure and insensitive for anyone to call for reconciliation without putting the plight of victims in the forefront.
Therefore every decent Gambian must give support to the new government’s efforts to hold those alleged to have committed heinous crimes to account. This must be extended to include economic crimes. Any head of an institution who deliberately collaborated in the illegal distribution or squandering of public resources must equally be held to account and temporarily relieve of their duties until proper investigations are conducted. The new Gambia cannot and must no operate in any way that is resemblance of the former regime. The Barrow government must set higher standards and prioritize the prudent handling of the mess they inherited. With the cooperation of the Gambian people and determination to build a new and better Gambia, the government needs to appoint commissions to investigate these alleged crimes to ensure that proper justice is rendered. They must guard against any form of revenge or illegal arrest and detention without charges. Gambians expect nothing less than higher standard and absolute discipline from their new government. The local as well as the online media must act as the fourth estate and hold the government’s feet to fire. It must be recognized that governments cannot police themselves and therefore Democracies don’t work without participation of citizens. Accountability starts with each and every citizen who then holds their government accountable of their actions. We must all serve as watch dogs and activists for a better Gambia and people.