Halifa Sallah Makes Critical Comment on Security Sector Reform


By Yankuba Jallow

Halifa Sallah, the member for Serrekunda on Wednesday, 23rd September said the Gambia is missing the agenda for the security sector reform.

Sallah said it is important to bear in mind that at the level of ECOWAS, the country requested for ECOMIG to stay and they are talking about transforming that force more into protocol that will establish a police responsibility for that force. Sallah added they are seeing that Gambia is so stable that you may not need a military force; they are not having the type of problems they are having elsewhere.

“So it means that we need to redefine all these and see where resources should go. What do we need to have security? What type of internal security are we looking for? What type of Gambia do we have at all levels, political, civil that we are not able to maintain stability in our country not just cosmetic stability by saying do we really need these forces and some will say yes, because we are insulting each other. We are attacking each other. We are threatening each other. So others must govern us – must rule us so that we are able to behave.

“We are failing to build a nation where we respect each other, love each other and have no other interest but to build a nation where all of us will live in liberty and dignity. That is what we are failing to do,” he said.

He said the security sector reform was meant to create new beings in the security forces.

He said for people to know that the State is providing security service not a security force, “we must get rid of the mentality of a force which is an instrument of coercion to an instrument of service – protection.”

He said the President told lawmakers that the third phase of the German support training programme in the security sector reform and the institutional policy drafting process have been halted.

“Policy drafting has been halted. Why should policy drafting process be halted because of COVID-19? How can brains be halted? What does it require to draft a policy? What we should be informed is the face of the policy of the drafting process and not talking about halting of a process,” Sallah said.

Sallah called upon the Honourable Vice-President to explain why all these things are being halted because security sector reform is a key element of the transition process.

The Secretary General of PDOIS said the Gambia is part of ECOWAS.

“We are supposed to have a single currency. What is the state? The President recently attended a meeting which is the 57th Ordinary Session of ECOWAS. What did they agree regarding the currency? That is what this report is supposed to do. We need to know how the country is being run. The policies of the country and the administration of the State is what we need to know. We are not in the Executive. We do not join other head of states. We don’t sign communiqués. We don’t know what is happening there. We are not supposed to take our individual approaches to go and investigate to know what is happening. That is not what parliament should do. Parliament should be informed and we are not being informed.”