TAT editorial – Talk of reconciliation is spin


“…Every sin can be forgiven by sincere repentance and making amends with those whom we wronged…”

That is what Islamic jurists say a sinner must do – repent and make amends with those wronged – as a way of receiving forgiveness from the Almighty Allah.

In the context of the current talk of national reconciliation by The Gambia government, we should all be reminded that the TRRC Act, 2017 prescribes the same format in order to achieve reconciliation.

The Act mandates the Commission to foster reconciliation; and, where applicable recommend amnesty.

The NPP-APRC alliance has been sold to Gambians and the world by both sides as a coming together in the spirit of national reconciliation.

But the APRC leadership past and present – whether Yahya Jammeh or FTJ and co – is yet to publicly express remorse for its crimes, and ask for forgiveness from its victims.

In any case, to the keen observer, Barrow’s talk of fostering national reconciliation is spin for what is clearly a marriage of convenience.

The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of current English defines marriage of convenience (noun) as “a marriage that is made for practical, financial or political reasons and not because the two love each other”.

It must be noted that the TRRC, as mandated by the Act, did set up a Reconciliation Committee which has been spearheading reconciliation at the level of the Commission.

But in this elections season, the politicians seeing an opportunity to win votes decided to jump the gun!

Even though we all want national reconciliation, President Barrow should have waited for the submission of the TRRC report, but not spearhead the issue of national reconciliation in the manner we are all witnessing.

He should have waited for the submission of the TRRC report, and share the report with the public in a White Paper.

This could be followed by a Green Paper outlining what it intends to do regarding the Commission’s findings and recommendations!

A government Green Paper would, among others, announced a policy decision to foster national reconciliation and state how it intended to promote such reconciliation.

This could entail a legislative process similar to the announced government plan to introduce a bill for a Victims Compensation Fund and a Commission for Victim Compensation, and so on.

In coming out and making statements in support, and publicly embracing the NPP-APRC alliance, President Adama Barrow has made it government policy!

Barrow’s public pronouncements are intended for the electorate, with the incumbent banking on the votes of APRC supporters for re-election on December 4.

Embarking on this so-called NPP-APRC alliance is clearly an act of political expediency!

Again, the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines the word “expedient” (a noun, and an adjective as well) as follows: “an action that is useful or necessary for a particular purpose, but not always fair or right”.

An example of usage is: “He acted out of expediency, not principle.”

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Sainey M.K. Marenah
Mr. Sainey M.K. Marenah is a Prominent Gambian journalist, founding editor The Alkamba Times and formerly head of communications at the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) and Communications and PR Consultant for The Gambia Pilot Program, under Gamworks. Mr. Marenah served as the Social media Strategist and Editor at Gambia Radio and Television Services. He is also the Banjul Correspondent for Voice of America Radio. Sainey is a human rights and developmental journalist who has carved a strong niche particularly in new media environments in the Gambian media industry. Mr. Marenah began his career as a junior reporter with the Point Newspaper in the Gambia in 2008 and rose through the ranks to become Chief correspondent before moving to The Standard Newspaper also in Banjul as Editorial Assistant and head of News. He is a household name in the Gambia’s media industry having covered some of the most important stories in the former and current government. These include the high profile treason cases including the Trial of Former military chiefs in Banjul in 2009 to 2012. Following his arrest and imprisonment by the former regime of President, Yahya Jammeh in 2014, Marenah moved to Dakar Senegal where he continues to practice Journalism freelancing for various local and international Media organization’s including the BBC, Al-Jazeera, VOA, and ZDF TV in Germany among others. He is the co-Founder of the Banjul Based Media Center for Research and Development; an institution specialized in research and development undertakings. As a journalist and Communication Expert, focused on supporting the Gambia's transitional process, Mr Marenah continues to play a pivotal role in shaping a viable media and communications platform that engages necessary tools and action to increase civic participation and awareness of the needs of transitional governance to strengthen the current move towards democratization. Mr. Marenah has traveled extensively as a professional journalist in both Europe, Africa and United States and attended several local and international media trainings.


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