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City of Banjul
Friday, August 19, 2022

No defense minister, no interior minister?

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In the absence of a minister of defense (which is currently manned by you, Sir) the ministry of the Interior should not be vacant for long. The two ministries – Defense and Interior – are responsible for the external and internal security of the nation. For a long time, the Ministry of Defense has been under the office of the president, first in the previous regime and now in yours. There should be a minister of Defense solely responsible to that ministry. It is too important to be handled as a secondary portfolio.

Besides, the MoU of the Coalition clearly says that a minister of defense will be appointed as soon as possible. Well, it’s been ten months since you took office and we have still not heard anything to that effect. What are you waiting for? When will you appoint a minister of defense? With the fragile security we have in the country (= see reason for denying #OccupyWestfield a permit) one would have thought that a minister whose only responsibility would be to ensure the territorial security of the Gambia would be appointed soonest.

Failing to appoint a minister of defense, and then relieving the minister of the Interior of his post, it becomes even more important to quickly find a replacement for this minister. Since you relieved Mr Mai Ahmad Fatty of his position, you have not appointed anyone to man that important ministry. The ministry of the Interior is one of the most sensitive ministries in the country and it should not go for long without a minster. As at now, we have the minister of Justice overseeing that ministry. Everyone knows that the minister of Justice must be extremely busy at the moment. How can he give Interior attention it deserves? How will he find the time to consider all the things that must be accruing on his desk from different security agencies in the country at the same time pay attention to justice and the Rule of Law?

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Beside, the minister of Justice is supposed to ensure that all other government departments and agencies operate within the confines of the law. If he is to oversee another ministry, won’t there be some form of conflict of interest? Will he give the due consideration to both ministries at the same time? It is important that you appoint a minister as soon as possible.

Mr President, the work of the president is too heavy and too important to be combined with something else. How can the president pay full attention to the work of the Chief Executive and at the same time be taking care of the ministry of defense? Will you have time for all that work? Won’t one of these two portfolios suffer? Furthermore, what happened to the promise that you will appoint a minister within a short period?
No ministers of defense, no minister of interior: are we safe?
Have a good day Mr President.

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