Victims of Former President Yahya Jammeh Still Waiting for Justice Ahead of Gambia Elections

Ahead of the Gambian presidential elections on December 3, the country’s Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) concluded a broad three-year public inquiry on Thursday, recommending prosecutions for abuses committed during the former president’s 22-year rule. Yahya Jammeh. Report Sarah Sakho and Elimane Ndao from FRANCE 24.

Gambians will go to the polls to elect a president on Saturday, in the first elections in the poor West African country since former dictator Yahya Jammeh fled into exile.

But the shadow of Jammeh, who took power in the Gambia in 1994 and ruled with an iron fist for 22 years, still hangs over the tiny nation, the smallest in mainland Africa, surrounded by Senegal. Gambian voters are concerned about the improvement of living conditions.

Jammeh was forced into exile in Equatorial Guinea in 2017, after President Adama Barrow, who was then relatively unknown, defeated him at the polls.

But the former dictator retains significant political support in the Gambia, where his defenders have lobbied for him to return.

Consequently, his possible return from exile and how to respond to the litany of alleged crimes under his rule, including rape, torture, use of death squads and state-sanctioned witch hunts, have been central themes in the electoral campaign.

A Gambian woman who had testified before the TRRC about the murder of her husband 27 years ago said it was impossible for her to cry because none of the Jammeh regime officials had been charged: “It is only justice that can make us forget them,” she said.

“The TRRC report is now in Barrow’s hands; he has 6 months to act. It must lead to a trial,” said Gambian human rights activist Mariama Jobarteh: “Of course, Yahya Jammeh was the boss of everything; it must face justice. So whoever walks in, we want to see a government that wipes the tears of the people. “

Barrow has been under fire since he made an alliance with members of Jammeh’s party. But the government wants to make sure the case moves forward.

“Victims need not be concerned. President Barrow established the TRRC of his own free will, to fight for the truth, “said government spokesman Ibrima Sankareh.

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