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 TRRC recommends revival of joking relationships

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T O P I C    R E V I E W
Momodou Posted - 30 Dec 2021 : 09:12:20
TRRC recommends revival of joking relationships to foster reconciliation

The Standard: DECEMBER 28, 2021

By Talibeh Hydara

The Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission, TRRC, has recommended for the revival of joking relationships among Gambians to foster national reconciliation and healing.

In a 16-volume final report made public on Friday, TRRC said joking relationship was an icebreaker during the commission’s own hectic exercise and therefore should be revived.

“Joking relationships still play an important role in maintaining peaceful relationships and averting conflict. This emerged during the public hearings and in the banters that went on between Commissioners, staff, legal team and witnesses and perpetrators. This mechanism is understood by Gambians and is an important tool that can be used in reconciliation activities,” TRRC said.

The commission recommends the National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC) and the National Council for Civic Education (NCCE) to embark on reviving the culture of joking relationships “to enhance indigenous knowledge of shared norms and values that are central to peace making and to averting conflict.”

The TRRC urged government to establish a peace and reconciliation commission “with a clear mandate to promote peace, reconciliation and healing and foster social cohesion.”

The commission said many Gambians don’t understand reconciliation, with many thinking it just means forgiveness.

“The concept of reconciliation is not understood by many Gambians. For many, reconciliation is synonymous with forgiveness – that perpetrators seek forgiveness after committing atrocities to victims. For those working to promote forgiveness and reconciliation like the TRRC, it is important to remember that a person can choose to forgive but not to reconcile,” the commission said.

The commission further said on the difficulty in getting witnesses to testify: “Ethnic, religious, family and gender considerations influenced many witnesses not to participate in the TRRC processes. Misplaced loyalty, fear of reprisals, stigmatisation and discrimination as well as family honour prevented both men and women from testifying before the TRRC even though systems were in place to protect their identities. Without their stories being told it would be difficult for them to engage in any type of reconciliation.”

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