Hamat Bah
Hamat Bah

(JollofNews) – A member of the leadership of the new dispensation that would take over The Gambia in a peaceful transfer of power in January has hinted that one of their first moves would be to establish a commission of inquiry into allegations of gross human rights violations levelled against outgoing President Yahya Jammeh.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with the (African Press Agency) on Saturday, Hamat Bah, the leader of the National Reconciliation Party, which had coalesced with seven other opposition parties to defeat Jammeh in last Thursday’s presidential poll said justice will be seen to be done where evidence of gross violations is found.

Mr Bah said ex-President Jammeh would be accorded the respect befitting of a retired statesman but would not be exempted from justice should he be linked to alleged crimes being associated with his erstwhile authoritarian government.

Mr Bah said the 51-year-old Gambian strongman who was gunning for a fifth term would have to submit himself to investigations into his conduct in office from 1994 when he came to power in a bloodless coup to 2016 when he lost the presidency to little known Adama Barrow.

It was the first time any member of the coalition leadership had spoken in public since Barrow was declared the winner of the Gambian poll which put paid to Jammeh’s 22-year rule.

Ex-President Jammeh’s government has been variously accused by opponents and international human rights concerns of serious violations including deaths and disappearances, torture by state intelligence operatives and unlawful detentions and imprisonments which included politicians, journalists, activists.

Meanwhile, speaking to journalists in Banjul on Saturday, Mohammed Ibn Chambas, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in West Africa and the Sahel reiterated Mr. Bah’s reference to a commission of inquiry to probe the former Gambian leader but warned that this should be done without a campaign of witch-hunt.

After losing Thursday’s election Mr. Jammeh had conceded defeat, sparking jubilant scenes in Banjul and other urban settlements by opposition supporters who defaced campaign posters bearing his image, a reaction that would have been unthinkable during the heyday of his authoritarian rule.