Jammeh to Justice: Majority of Gambians want collaborative effort between Ghana and Gambia, study shows

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Six in 10 Gambians recommend a collaborative effort between the governments of Ghana and the Gambia to ascertain the truth about 44 Ghanaians who were murdered in the Gambia, Afrobarometer’s inaugural national survey in the Gambia reveals.

A majority of Gambians believe that perpetrators of crimes and human-rights abuses during Jammeh’s regime should be tried in court, irrespective of the work of the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) that President Adama Barrow has established to address past human-rights abuses. However, Gambians are divided as to whether Jammeh should be extradited to the Gambia for prosecution.

Jammeh’s rule was characterized by blatant human-rights abuses. Among crimes that drew international attention was the 2005 killing of 44 Ghanaians and several other Africans who were trying to migrate to Europe. Although a United Nations/Economic Community of West African States team in 2009 attributed the killings to “rogue elements” in the Gambia’s security services, new evidence reveals that the migrants were killed by “Junglers,” a notorious paramilitary unit under Jammeh’s control.

Afrobarometer survey

Afrobarometer is a pan-African, non-partisan research network that conducts public attitude surveys on democracy, governance, economic conditions, and related issues in Africa. Six rounds of surveys were conducted in up to 37 Africans countries between 1999 and 2015, and Round 7 surveys are being completed in 2018. Afrobarometer conducts face-to-face interviews in the language of the respondent’s choice with nationally representative samples.

The Afrobarometer team in the Gambia, led by the Centre for Policy, Research and Strategic Studies (CepRass), interviewed 1,200 adult Gambians in July and August 2018. A sample of this size yields country-level results with a margin of error of +/-3 percentage points at a 95% confidence level.

Key findings

 Six in 10 Gambians (60%) recommend a collaborative effort between the governments of Ghana and the Gambia to ascertain the truth about 44 Ghanaians who were murdered in the Gambia.
 Two-thirds (68%) of Gambians say perpetrators of crimes and human-rights abuses during Jammeh’s regime should be tried in court, irrespective of the work of the TRRC. Half (51%) say the former president should face prosecution for crimes and human rights abuses.

 More than one in four Gambians (28%) say they or a member of their family suffered at least one form of human-rights abuse under the regime of former President Yahya Jammeh.
 Citizens expect a variety of outcomes from the TRRC’s work, ranging from national peace, reconciliation, forgiveness, and healing (34%) to accurate records of the previous regime’s human-rights abuses (30%), prosecution of accused perpetrators (28%), and support and reparations for victims.

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