By: Kebba AF Touray
The Gambia’s defense ministry has on Wednesday 22nd September 2021, validated its maiden National Defense Policy.
The Policy as alluded to by the Chairman of the Policy Committee, inter alia seeks to ensure defense institutions are capable of carrying out their constitutional mandates.
Mr. Sheriff Gomez, the Chairman of the Defense Policy Committee, during the presentation of the aforesaid policy, said the policy underlines the government’s aspirations and overall objectives, through the Ministry of Defense.
These include the management, administration, command and control of the Gambia Armed Forces within the provisions of the country’s constitution and democratic dispensation.
Gomez also said the policy recognizes and amplifies the inherent right and duty of the Gambian people to defend the homeland as being primary and resolute.
“For the reinforcement of this resolution and providing support to other national development policies, the defense policy seeks to support, strengthen, and defend the values and aspirations of The Gambia, for the maintenance of a stable, peaceful and vibrant nation. It also seeks to ensure regulatory and oversight accountability processes on the activities of defense institutions for optimal utilization of resources for national defense,” he said.
Gomez further said the policy acknowledges the Security Sector Assessment Report (2017), the direction set by both the National Security Policy (2019) and the National Security Strategy (2020).
He said it therefore serves as one of a number of institutional frameworks meant to bridge the aforementioned gaps in the assessment report, ensure the effective and efficient functioning of the defense sector and contribute to national healing, closure and trust.
“The policy also seeks to engender collaboration and cooperation with relevant stakeholders, security institutions and agencies, empower citizens’ participation in defense and security of the nation. Direct and ensure GAF maintains a size that reflects the defense needs of the nation. Ensure GAF’s participation in the maintenance of international peace and tranquility. Nurture an armed force that is subservient to civil authority, upholds and promotes highest standards of regimentation and ethics,” he said.
He told the convergence that the vision of the policy is to have responsive, compact, well-equipped, professional, modernized and sustainable defense institutions that are capable of carrying out their constitutional mandates.
“The mission of the policy is to articulate guidelines to protect national sovereignty, territorial integrity, contribute to national development, promote international peace and security and make provisions for the well-being of service personnel,” he said.
During the validation, participants recommended adjustments into the policy.
The need to give benefits for the relieved Armed Forces Officials and the need for the military to be considered in terms of the agreements or conventions that are being signed by the Gambia, were also advanced.
Speaking at the end of the two-day validation workshop, Defense Minister, Sheikh Omar Faye, hailed all those who contributed towards the success of the formulation and the validation of the first ever national defense policy.
He said the document underwent both internal and external peer review, incorporating feedback as necessary.
“The drafting and subsequent publication of the defense policy sets the Gambia on a new course, but in order to determine the policy objective and how the objectives will be met, we will soon embark on work at technical level, in order to set out planned strategies for the implementation of the policy,” he said.