By Edrissa Jallow, @EdrissaJallow10
The Solicitor General of The Gambia, Lawyer Hussein Thomasi Esq has confirmed that the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has finalized the Banning of Public Office TRRC Bill which will be tabled alongside the Reparations Bill in an Extra-Ordinary Session before the end of 2023.
The confirmation came during his submission at the opening ceremony of the National Human Rights Commission’s (NHRC) periodic interface with victims and victim-led organizations on Wednesday 30th August 2023 at Metzy Hotel.
“The Ministry of Justice has since finalized the banning from office TRRC Bill. This legislation is meant to introduce the legislative framework that will effectively implement the recommendations of the TRRC seeking to ban certain individuals from holding public office,” said Lawyer Thomasi who delivered a statement on behalf of the Minister of Justice, Hon Dawda A. Jallow.
The TRRC is a defunct Commission which investigated human rights violations orchestrated by the former Government of President of Yahya Jammeh from 1994 to 2016. The TRRC Report was submitted to the Government who in turn published a White Paper stating how it would implement the recommendations. Gainako readers will recall that in July 2022, our medium published a list of 90 adversely mentioned persons recommended to be banned from holding public office by the Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC). The list was shared with our medium from the Ministry of Justice.
In light of this, the Government sent letters to various government agencies and institutions to send all adversely mentioned individuals on administrative leave back in July 2022. In one of our publications dated 8th August 2022, a counsel at the Ministry of Justice, Lawyer Kimbeng Tah confirmed that the MoJ has “received responses from all those agencies that the suspensions have been carried out while we wait to concretize the removal from service following due process”.
Providing an update to their ban from Office, Solicitor General Louis Thomasi highlighted that the government sent perpetrators on “administrative leave but we do not have the legal framework to ban them from office. We [government] have now decided to put a legal framework in place so that we can effectively and holistically deal with all those personnel, it is a strategy”.
Turning his attention to the much anticipated Reparations Bill which will ensure victims receive appropriate compensation for TRRC victims, Solicitor General Thomasi assured the audience that the Banning from Office TRRC Bill “will be tabled also alongside the Reparation Bill, the SPO Bill, the special accountability all before the national assembly this year on an expedited hearing”.
According to the Solicitor General, he has personally engaged the Clerk of the National Assembly, Momodou A Sise on behalf of Minister Jallow on how to expedite the aforementioned bills while trying to get the appropriate funding to convene an extraordinary sitting “so that we can deal with all these bills” with utmost urgency this year.
Solicitor General Thomasi added that the Barrow Administration “cannot fail” to implement the recommendations as the government is keenly monitored by partners and national and international human rights organizations.
While he admitted the government’s implementation process is slow, he urged the audience in particular the victims to bear with the government for the process to work as the government is “committed to it and we will get it to work”.