Peace and security are the fundamental pillars on which any sustainable development is desk. I don’t really know what it is about this new government and the worrisome security lapses. To say it as result of its civilian back is a disservice to country. Apart from the CDS and Directors of NIA and Prisons, nothing much has changed in the security apparatus under the Barrow government. In fact it saw the reinstating of former officers and other ranks who were unlawfully dismissed by the dictatorship yet the security of the Gambia is more fragile today than before. What accounts for such security failures?
During the two in one celebration which witnessed the inauguration of President Barrow and the 51st Independence commemoration, serious security omission occurred costing three lives, many injuries and lost of properties. Nothing came out of it despite calls for an investigation into the blunders. Armed robbery along our boarders began to rise alarmingly. Then came the violent clashes between party supporters during and after the NAM election. Now shoot out between ECOMIG and and Armed Forces.
Well if it is a test on the strength and security preparedness of the new government, it has woefully failed.
Any government which openly manifest its distrust on the security services only helps in alienating itself from such a crucial institution and instrument for enhancing peace, security and stability. Many of services personnel feel alienated as a result of either tribe and/or loyalty to the dictatorship particularly during the impasse. The selective dismissal of officers and security chiefs only fueled suspicion and unspoken nepotism.
The continued presence of ECOMIG is another conflict of interest between them and our local GAF who perceived the latter as usurping their rights and duties. They also believed the current government like that of Jawara did with the Nigerian officers, look up to the ECOMIG more than them. The enjoy less privileges as opposed to the occupier soldiers. If you don’t trust the Gambia Armed Forces disband them. No serious security officer will allow another armed soldier entry to his guard post without clearance even if they are from your own unit. The ECOMIG are completely out of order in firing warning shots in Kanilai. To shoot at indigenous soldiers is not only unacceptable but a blatant insult to our soldiers. Well, if your own government does not respect you, how do you expect to get it from a strange who thinks he is better than you?
Mr President, your government needs to step up and seriously address the security issues. Asking Senegal to provide extra soldiers does not address the brewing security tension between your government, ECOMIG and the Gambian army. We are told not to criticise you because them brings more problems. We will continue to objectively call you out wherever you fail to deliver and if anyone is uncomfortable with that happy days. Similarly, the two state guard commanders are at war as to who commands the other. Everywhere one turns his face is met with an issue requesting an urgent response yet you carry on as if all is well.
Whatever is on your table now, must wait for the security concerns be sorted once and for all. Without security and stability nothing worthwhile can be achieved.
Until Monday, Jummah Mubarak.