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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Who polices the Police?

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By Musa Bah

Time and again, we hear of incidents involving the Gambia Police Force (GPF) and then it will be said that they have launched an investigation into the incident.

One wonders how the police can investigate the police.

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It is well known that such investigations can hardly be independent or exhaustive, as personal interest would hinder it.

This has happened many times and I’m always left wondering as to how effective such investigations can be.

For instance, about two weeks ago, a student of the University of the Gambia, Mr Kebba Secka was stabbed by a police officer, Lamin Trawally and we were told that the matter is under investigation.

It is early days yet, but one can surely be apprehensive of such investigations.
Again, in the incident that occurred last week leading to allegations of torture on one Ousman Darboe, a market vendor, we are told that a committee of investigators from the various security agencies has been constituted and that they will make their findings public.

Information has it that whoever is found wanting will be made to face to the full force of the law.

But will they find anyone wanting? On the answer to that question, the jury is still out.

True democracy provides for effective solutions to these problems and the tools are already there to sought all these issues out.

For instance, the National Assembly has been given the powers of oversight on all government institutions, including the security units.

There is already a subcommittee on security in the National Assembly and if issue like these come up, they are the ones who are supposed to provide oversight in investigate or set up a panel to do that and give recommendations on what should be done so that a comprehensive response to security issues can be formulated in order to maintain law and order which is a vital component of a democracy.

As it is, one wonders what the National Assembly Subcommittee on Security is doing.

We have not heard of them inviting either the Minister of the Interior or the Inspector General of Police to answer questions on the issues leading to these problems.

In this regard, I think the political parties in the country also have a huge role to play as they all have representatives in Parliament.

The PDOIS has four seats, the UDP has thirty-one seats, GDC has four seats and so on.

Yet, we don’t hear any of these representatives come up with concrete measures to solve some of these problems.

It is not enough to issue statements condemning violence; it is necessary to take practical steps.

We need a national dialogue on these issues to give our nascent democracy the impetus to grow!

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