Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAV), last Wednesday completed a
five-day training for National Assembly Members on defence and security of the
National Assembly on legislative analysis and budget scrutiny. The training was
held at the National Nutrition Agency (NaNA) conference hall in Kanifing.
European Union Ambassador to The Gambia, Attila Lajos said The Gambia is changing and after 3 years into the transition, there has been no visible reform of the country’s security sector. “Security sector reform should not be restricted to the leaders of security forces or the government. It has to be visibly nationwide,” he said.
He said in this role, the lawmakers serve as a focal point for public attention on defence and security issues, providing critically important means through which awareness, understanding and trust can be enhanced between the electorate, parliamentarians and the executive.
Ambassador Lajos said supporting the standing committee on defence and security (SCD) to assume this role to its full potential is a core objective of EU delegation in The Gambia.
He said work of the National Security Plan (NSP) should be commended even if it takes two years but said the ongoing drafting of the national security strategy and security sector reform strategy lack the required political direction for the process to be effective, accountable and sustainable.
Deputy speaker and chairperson of the standing committee on defence and security (SCDs) Momodou LK Sanneh, said the training was apt and timely, saying there has not been a proper security sector reform in the 22-year rule of the former government which caused dictatorship in the country, supported by the security sector.
According to him, the standing committee on defence and security was one of the most dormant committees of the National Assembly even though it has all the power needed to perform oversight functions as provided in Section 109 of the 1997 Constitution.
“I believe with this training, we will be able to transform the security sector of this country by making it more accountable and transparent to citizenry through the National Assembly. I have no doubt about my team, as we are determined to leave no stone on turned in performing our legislative and budgetary oversight functions.”
He said equipping national Assembly members with the requisite skills and knowledge in legislative drafting and budget scrutiny on the security sector will promote and strengthen the democratic participation and oversight on the security by the standing committee on defence and security.