GOOD MORNING MR PRESIDENT: The Security Issue

Monday, January 29, 2018

Mr. President, the talk of the town these days is the security elapses that happened last week at the Banjul International Airport when two generals, Umpa Mendy, principal protection officer and Ansumana Tamba, State Guard Commander all of ex-president Jammeh’s regime returned from Equatorial Guinea after one year and were allowed to pass without being arrested.

Mr. President, We all agreed that there were security elapses but certain questions need to be addressed too.  Was the security and immigration informed and given arrest warrant to arrest these men anywhere seen in the country? Were the border check points given mechanisms to arrest these men? Is there any list of wanted people released and published by your government for everyone to know?

Mr. President, the reason for the coming back of these generals must be known and thorough investigations should be done as “even Jammeh can pass through the airport unnoticed whiles the securities are looking at people’s bags to collect mobile phones and other things” Minister Bah said at a high level government officials’ meeting at State House last week. Besides, General Saul Badjie who was very powerful in the Jammeh’s regime is also reported to be in a neighbouring country and not in Equatorial Guinea. Your government should be very vigilant and monitor his movements too.

Mr. President, Jammeh’s regime had a close relationship with MFDC and it’s believed that he was giving them all the necessary support in terms of money, feeding, arms and ammunitions and the returning of these “generals” coincided with the recent massive killing of 14 youths in Casamance with 20 suspects arrested. There have also been reports of suspected rebels seen in the border villages of The Gambia.

Mr. President, as the term of the Ecomic Soldiers will come to an end come May, your government should consider extending their stay and making sure that The Gambia security sector is reformed now without delays because we cannot live with the services of these intervention troops forever.

Your government should appeal to friendly countries most especially Senegal, whom we share borders to assist us in terms of training for security personnel, and equipment. The security needs to be motivated too. The population should also be enlightened to be able to assist the security personnel with any relevant information. Community policing should be encouraged. Security agents especially the NDEA should redouble their efforts to fight against cannabis smuggle from Cassamance to The Gambia.

Mr. President, during your last meeting with the senior civil servants, you said that “public service itself became the first victim of the brutality of the past regime. These important institutions have been generally politicised, abused and rendered irrelevant as most operational and strategic decisions were surrendered to the Office of the President for one man to make them all.”

The public service should be left to do their jobs professionally without any political interference and nepotism. Appointments and promotions should be done based on qualifications and not based on whom you know as in the previous regime. Wrongful termination of jobs should not be encouraged. Board members of parastatals should be left to work independently without government interference. 

Finally Mr. President, we will end with your words “We were united in our fight for freedom; let us continue to be united to work for the development of our country. I call on Gambians with the expertise - knowledge and skills to reflect on how to contribute to the development of our country. We have to be fearless, take courage, faith and determination to succeed as a nation. Together we shall progress, let us come together,”- President Barrow

Good day