State House, Banjul, 10th June 2019 – His Excellency, President Adama barrow on Monday, June 10, 2019, officially launched The Gambia’s first ever National Security Policy at a local hotel in Kololi. The ceremony, which was attended by the Gambia’s international development partners, members of the diplomatic corps, service chief, among other high profile officials, was the culmination of two years of extensive nationwide consultations, validation exercises and Cabinet sessions over a policy that will spur the complete transformation of the country’s security sector.
According to the President, the National Security Policy would provide an overarching policy framework needed to ensure synergy, collaboration and accountability between the different security services in the Country.
‘’The policy we are about to launch will further strengthen coordination at the national level to achieve our security goals and strategic objectives, protect our national security interests and facilitate proper management of our resources’’, President Barrow said. “The NSP sets out the directions Government will take to safeguard our people and natural resources”.
Moreover, President Barrow said the policy provides a robust, coherent and strategic approach to respond collectively to national security threats through swift decision-making processes, clear lines of accountability and responsibility, prompt execution of action and commitment to building the nation’s resilience to crime. It also encapsulates the various forms of security threats, risks, and opportunities associated with the security sector and the country at large.
“My Government is mindful of the current reality regarding the safety and security in our society and its responsibility to secure our dear country. Fulfilling this responsibility implies establishing the basis to pursue the vision enshrined in our National Development Plan (2018-2021) and our national objectives. The basis of growth, development, and progress are peace, security and stability. As a result, we cannot ignore this responsibility,” the President said at the launching.
Speaking earlier, the National Security Adviser of the President, Rtd. Col. Ambassador Momodou Badjie hailed the personal commitment of President Barrow to the cause of national security, and in particular, the formulation exercise of the security policy document. That political will, he added, was manifested in the leading role that the Office of the President took in coordinating the entire formulation process.
‘’The NSP is an all-inclusive document that entails national values and a strategic vision for the security of the country’’, NSA Badjie said, stating that the human-centric aspect of the document guarantees human rights, including gender-based violence and the fight against non-communicable diseases. A similar view was shared by the Special Adviser to the President on Governance and Policy, Hon. Ahmad Mai Fatty, who said the NSP came at an era when opportunities, challenges, and threats are weighed against the protection and protection and promotion of democracy to enhance security.
The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, who doubles as the Chairman of the Steering of the National Security Sector Reform Programme said the event was an opportunity to reflect on the past and create a smooth transition into the future with the view to repositioning it. Minister Tambadou was quick to dismiss widely-held misconceptions that the security reforms are all about downsizing the military. Though he admitted that it is a part of SSR, he, however, stressed that downsizing occupies the bottom rung of the priority ladder.
‘’The fixation is not on the size but the quality of the military’’ he said, adding that even when the time comes, it would be done without any consideration to ethnic, political or religious affiliation.
While commending the president’s stance in accelerating the SSR, the UN Resident Coordinator, Seraphine Wakana said the reform agenda, which encompasses the NSP would bridge the gap between the people and the security services as well as mainstreaming gender in the security sector.