Gambia: CSOs Chair Condemns Reinstatement of Coupists in GAF

24 November 2020

John Charles Njie, the chairman of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) has affirmed that the reappointment of soldiers accused of coup was wrong.

"Reinstating personnel of The Gambia Armed Forces (GAF) who were accused of Coup d'état in the system was totally wrong," he said, adding "what's wrong is always wrong."

Mr. Njie was speaking last Friday during a day-long forum on the Role of CSOs and the Media towards the Security Sector Reforms (SSR).

The forum was held at the NaNa conference hall along the Bertil Harding Highway.

The convergence was organised by the Geneva Center for Security Sector Governance (DCAF) with funding from the British High Commission in The Gambia.

"Rewarding people that partake in coup d'états is totally wrong and I am surprised that nobody has condemned this both within the Civil Societies and the media," he said.

The CSOs boss added: "We need to look at the issue of coup d'état critically. If we support the reinstatement of some soldiers that embarked on coup and are reinstated in the system that means some soldiers can also take up guns to overthrow a future government, who knows. The question is whether those soldiers are also going to be rewarded?

Commenting on the issue of downsizing certain security units in the country, the CSOs Chair says the issue should be critically looked into before it turns into something else.

Pansaw Nyassi, acting head of DCAF in The Gambia reminded the participants the significance of their participation is towards the country SSR.

"We know the importance of the civil societies and the media towards this important process, hence that's why this forum is organised."

Alexandria Burins, security sector expert for DCAF dwelled on the importance of the day-long forum, adding that the forum is being funded by the British High Commission in Banjul who are very passionate about security sector reforms and constitutional review process in the country.

Another issue raised during the forum was whether the GAF could be involved in agriculture. However, many participants believed that the army could be involved in agricultural activities in the country by cultivating certain hectares of rice or other varieties with a view to feeding themselves, but their involvement in the agriculture sector shouldn't be commercialised.

Another issue raised is the need for security personnel to respect the dignity of people while executing their duties and also the need to respect the diversity and cultural values of people in terms of executing their functions.

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