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    Fight against impunity continues in The Gambia

    Fight against impunity continues in The Gambia

    Willing ears: student members of the Civic Club at Gambia College take in the message of fighting impunity

    July 18,2003

    THE Never Again Network (NAN) in The Gambia continues to reach out to Gambians as it pushes its fight to stop a repeat of impunity and human rights abuses in the country, recently engaging the Civic Club at Gambia College as part of the NAN’s ongoing Right to Know Campaign, which was launched in 2022.

    The idea and practice of Never Again as a nationwide campaign evolved from the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) Secretariat to get Gambians to fight against a repetition of the impunity and human rights abuses that occurred in the country under the regime of President Yahya Jammeh.

    NAN National Outreach Coordinator Bubacarr Sambou spoke of the importance of putting things right in the post-TRRC transitional justice process after Jammeh was voted out of power in 2017.

    NAN coordination team member Felix Sambou told the students that the Never Again campaign was to help guard against the “common tendency to get corrupt and irresponsible when they hold public office responsibilities”.

    He said that while it was good that the Gambian government had introduced civic education in the school curriculum, it did not adequately train teachers in preparation for teaching the subject.

    Speaking on what he called the “three levels of civic education” (individual, national, and global), NAN National Coordinator Dr Baba Galleh Jallow said the primary goal of civic education was to help” create a good human being who was also a responsible citizen”.

    He said children should be taught civic education in schools so that they “know their country’s Constitution, their rights and responsibilities, and grow up to be informed citizens who can hold their leaders accountable”.

    Jallow said a well-established and functional Institute for Gambian Studies should be given the “responsibility to raise the civic awareness of all Gambians on an ongoing basis”.

    Responding to a question on why the rule of law was set aside in favour of “the rule of man” during the Jammeh regime, Jallow told the students that it came down to two main factors.

    One was that The Gambia had an “irresponsible leadership that had no respect for the rule of law and did what it wanted because it knew (or thought) it could get away with it”.

    The second was that the majority of Gambians were not “politically informed and empowered enough to hold their leaders accountable”.

    On the issue of why people get corrupt once they are in public office, Jallow contended: “Power does not corrupt; it merely uncovers the type of person an individual really is.

    “Genuinely good and honest people will not suddenly turn bad and corrupt on account of ascending to public office.

    “In effect, public office merely gives inherently corrupt individuals the opportunity to show their true colours,” he added

    Since its launch, the Network has engaged several schools and one local community in conversation over why citizens, especially young Gambians, should say Never Again to “dictatorship, political impunity, and rampant human rights violations of the sort that happened here under the ousted Jammeh regime”.

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