By Olimatou Coker
The Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF) has held a 2-day consultation forum with decision-makers, technical staff, for the development of the new Gambia Armed Forces act.
Speaking Pansaw Nyassi, Interim Country Head DCAF Banjul, said reviewing the GAF Act is part and parcel of the security reform of The Gambia.
“DCAF has been committed to supporting the entire SSR process in The Gambia. We have been contributing our own quarter in different forms and we have been giving not only advisory services but we have also been fully engaged in other reform agenda.”
He stated that ensuring that the legal and regulatory framework governing the security sector is relevant, comprehensive and compliant with principles of democracy and human rights is a key component of SSR in The Gambia.
“Reviewing and updating the legal and policy framework of the Gambia’s security institution is thus an early priority for SSR. DCAF has already supported this process for other key security institutions, such as the state intelligence services and the Gambia Police Force. It is critically important that the Gambia Armed Forces also have a legislative basis which clearly regulates their roles, functions, and operations within a framework of democratic control, rule of law, and respect for human rights,” he said.
He said the new GAF Act will also have to grapple with questions of democratic governance and oversight, including clarity on the role and definition of defense counsel, the ministry of defense, the office of national security, and responsibilities to the National Assembly.
Janet Ramatoulie Sallah Njie, National Consultant DCAF, said the workshop is part of the overall security reform of the Gambia.
She said this is the second workshop DCAF had.
She said reviewing the security sector is very vital for the stability of the country and that of the nation. “Therefore, I want to call on the participants to make the best use of the opportunity they have today because you are the stakeholders; because you are your own experts in your own ways; so please make the best use of the workshop and make sure that you get the real value of it,” she urged.
Mamat Cham, Deputy CDS of GAF, said the development of a comprehensive legal and administrative framework is essential for a proper and smooth running of any institution both public and private. “It forms the superstructure that gives the institutions, which GAF is included, the mandates, structures, functions, roles, and other.
“It is hoped that by the end of this workshop the Gambia Armed Forces will be provided with the befitting laws, regulations, and supervisory mechanisms fit for the modern armed forces”.
Deputy CDS Cham said the document will design a clear and frictionless channel of communication that will give the command reliable guidelines to support the civil power and authority whenever the need arises.