General Ousman Sowe of the State Intelligence Service (SIS) recently addressed
his colleague Africa Director Generals from 47 Africa countries on the
Security, Political and related situations in Gambia.
He delivered the address at the DGs 14th Conference of the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa (CISSA) held in Khartoum, Sudan, 27-29 September 2017.
DG Sowe thanked governments and institutions of the sub region in particular and African continent in general for the robust military intervention by ECOMIG and the political support from ECOWAS, the AU, the UN and other global actors, which saved The Gambia from sliding into an internal civil strife.
He singled out and commended the efforts and sacrifices of Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Guinea Conakry, Sierra Leone, Mali and Mauritania.
On the political and security developments in The Gambia, Director General Sowe informed his colleagues that the government of President Adama Barrow has made remarkable progress in the areas of stabilising the security situation, reconciliation and ensuring freedom of speech for the people of The Gambia.
Thanks to such efforts, he went on, peace has since returned and as a first step to stabilize the country, the government of President HE Adama Barrow has undertaken a process of reconciliation so as to bring on board Gambians across the country and the diaspora as stakeholders in the democratic process. He said the SIS is actively engaged in supporting this reconciliation process.
Similarly, he also informed them that another important prerequisite for peace and security is justice and hence the government of The Gambia is also in the process of setting up a truth and reconciliation commission to ensure people who were wronged are availed justice as part of the healing process.
On the security sector, he informed his colleagues that the NIA, renamed, the State Intelligence Service SIS and the overall security sector is being reformed so as to reposition them in line with the democratic aspiration of the Gambian people.
It is envisaged that these reforms of the Security Sector of the country aided by the UN, AU, ECOWAS and other stakeholders will hence make The Gambia more democratic, and thus further the overall contribution to security sector not only for the Gambia and sub-region but above all the continent of Africa and beyond.
He however, indicated to his colleagues that as is expected reforms are usually faced with challenges of logistical, technical, human and material resources and the Gambia’s reforms is no exception.
Thus he used his address to appeal for continental as well as international support to the building of strong institutions to serve as pillars of democratic process in the Gambia but also to promotion of economic recovery programs including provision of jobs and essential services to translate the democratic gains into tangible dividend for the welfare of the people of the Gambia so as to ensure security, peace and national cohesion.
Further briefing colleague DGs, DG Sowe renewed the commitment of the SIS and Gambia government to CISSA, an important organ of AU Peace and Security Council and called for increased networking, collaboration and dedication of security and intelligence services in Africa to the pursuit of peace, democratic governance and development on the continent.
Meanwhile taking advantage of the rare opportunity to meet and network with his colleagues, DG Sowe also held bilateral discussions with his counterparts from the various regions of the continent including West Africa, South Africa, Central and North Africa, centered on forging closer cooperation in the fight against common and emerging threats, knowledge transfer and best practices, investment in critical infrastructure and support to non- traditional security concerns. In turn he received pledges, commitment and profound goodwill of support from his colleagues across the continent
Delegates from 47 Africa countries were in attendance with about 45 Directors General heading their delegations to the 14th Ordinary Conference in Khartoum, Sudan.