By Omar Bah
The United Nations country representative, Ms. Seraphine Wakana has told a high level meeting designed to assess Gambia’s 814 days after Jammeh’s ouster that the country must avoid losing the gains it has made so far.
“From the perspective of the UN, it is paramount that the gains made on these very critical initiatives are not lost in the medium and long term. That is, once the transitional process is completed, a new constitution is put in place and security sector reform policies are validated, the rule of law must be able to ensure these gains are implemented into the future,” she said.
The UN resident coordinator further said The Gambia inherited a country with fundamental flaws in its governance structures.
“Today, in a commendable act of transparency, accountability and reciprocity, we stand as witnesses to the significant strides and accomplishments of the Government, its partners and civil society organisations in the quest for a secure and stable Gambia, built on the foundations of tolerance, good governance and respect for human rights,” she added.
She further stressed that the rule of law roadmap is designed to ensure that the justice sector is well coordinated, improve the capacity of the individual justice actors and increase access to justice to all Gambian citizens. She explained that the justice sector is a chain, and each member of this chain needs to be strengthened and supported.
“I acknowledge that it is important for the government to access fast, flexible and catalytic funding to deal with its urgent peace-building challenges in a dynamic political transition. The UN is committed to supporting the government in all its efforts, while ensuring that the Gambia stays on its progressive trajectory,” she asserted.
Madam Wakana acknowledged and commended the government and the Minister of Justice for the tremendous engagement on Transitional Justice and the constitutional review commission, initiatives, she said are progressing in parallel to security sector reform and several legislative reforms.
In a statement read on his behalf, Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairperson of the African Union Commission said the high level meeting will assess the level of compliance of the Gambia and other African Union member states to the Charter, saying the meeting is also timely, taking place only months after the adoption of the 2019 African Governance report by the APRM and AGA platforms.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mamadou Tangara expressed government’s unflinching appreciation to the UN systems for their tremendous support towards the country’s democratization process since the advent of the new administration.
He highlighted numerous projects that are supported by the UN and other international partners.
The meeting was organised by the Ministry of Justice, in collaboration with the United Nations Convention on Sustainable Peace through Governance to conduct a review of the progress made in the Gambia since the change. The meeting avails Gambia’s international partners the opportunity to tell government their impression about the progress the country has made.
The meeting was attended by representative from the UN, AU, EU, Human Rights Commission, TRRC, CRC and the officials from the ministry of justice.