Gambia: GAF Act Reviewed

20 October 2020

Stakeholders in the country's security sector recently met to review The Gambia Armed Forces Act at a meeting held at NaNA Conference hall.

The forum, which attracted participants from various security units, was organized and funded by Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF)

Welcoming participants, Pansaw Nyassi, interim country head of DCAF in Banjul, said the Geneva Center for Security Governance (DCAF) is dedicated to improving the security of people and the states they live in within a framework of democratic governance and human rights.

He informed that DCAF assists partner states and international actors supporting these states, to improve the governance of their security sector through inclusive and participatory reforms based on international norms and good practices.

Nyassi cited that DCAF project in The Gambia seeks to contribute to meaningful security sector reforms and greater accountability, leading to improved peace and security for the Gambian populace.

He also disclosed that with funding from the German government, DCAF is supporting the development and implementation of a new legislation governing the Gambia Armed Forces.

The focus, he added, is to perform an in-depth review of the existing Gambia Armed Forces Act and to facilitate discussion and decision on mandates of the Gambia Armed Forces.

"It also seeks to support in drafting a revised Armed Forced Act and support the operationalization of the new Act.

He maintained that DCAF is committed to ensuring that the legal and regulatory framework governing the security sector are relevant, comprehensive and compliant within the principles of democracy and human right, which he said, is a key component of SSR in The Gambia.

He further stressed the need for clarity on the specific mandates and responsibilities the Armed Forces vis-a-vis other security institutions.

"This lack of clarity leads to overlaps in function and duplication of effort among security institutions, most notably, in aspects of internal security and border management".

Defining the mandate of the GAF, he observed, will necessarily entail discussion and decision as to the role of the Armed Forces in such issues as disaster management, internal security, social enterprise and public order among others.

He thus expressed hope that the new GAF Act will also have to grapple with questions of democratic governance and oversight including clarity on the role and definition of the Defense Council, Ministry of Defense, the Office of National Security and responsibilities to the National Assembly.

Other speakers included Brigadier General Momodou Cham, who is also the deputy CDS and the national consultant, Janet Sallah-Njie, both expressed the need to review the GAF Act to better enhance their role and function.

While describing the forum as timely, the duo equally challenged participants to participate fully in the exercise.

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