By Omar Bah
The Gambia is in the process of drafting the first ever national security policy to completely overhaul the sector with a view to making it more responsive to the needs of the country.
The president’s National Security Adviser, Momodou Badgie made this announcement Friday during a news conference held at State House.
He said the National Security Council (NSC) will hold a consultative forum on the draft National Security Policy (NSP) on 19 and 20 September, when participants from civil society, Ombudsman’s office, human rights institutions, opinion and religious leaders, academics and the press would be brought together.
He said the consultative forum will work on the thematic areas centred on strategic context; threats and challenges; framework of national policy; gender mainstreaming in the security sector and security sector institutions.
Badgie noted that the inclusive process initiated by the NSC stands on a solid foundation, a sine qua non for the establishment of a national security apparatus, operating “under the mantle of rule of law and respect for human rights principles.”
He said the most critical deficit that perpetuated the malfunction of the Gambian security sector was the absence “almost completely of overarching policies which describe the security institutions beyond the Constitutional provisions”.
He said the Security Sector Reform (SSR) is expected to bring a major shift as it will help the sector to move from a state-centered to a people-centred security apparatus.
The initiative, he added, has got the backing of regional and international partners such as ECOWAS, United Nations and European Union.
Meanwhile, Ebrima Sankareh, government spokesperson said one of the most difficult things that the country faced in the past 22 years was in the security sector.
“We know people were tortured, disappeared and women raped. Mile 2 became a concentration camp,” he said.
The Government spokesperson said since the removal of dictatorship, the country with its international partners felt the need for security sector reforms.