We are the many patriotic Gambians who endorse and support President Adama Barrow and his Coalition government. In the same vein, we will never shy to correct the administration where we deem they erred. We do this because we know this government – unlike previous government – is the people’s choice. The government of the people by the people. Communicating with your government directely on issues pertaining to how citizens are governed and how policies are executed is what is called political inclusiveness which brings about political awareness. Citizens in a democratic society must take part in shaping their own destiny. After all, they are the ones who are affected and know well what is better for them and their families. A good government is a government that listens and communicates directly and unambigously to its people.
The political events of the last four to five weeks in our country are very worrying and alarming, to tell the real truth. Not in terms of security wise alone but the credibility of the President and his administration. I will begin with the Faraba Banta disaster and the subsequent resignation of the country’s Inspector General of Police IGP. I am not going into the tribal issues being debated concerning the resignation of the IGP. I think we have lost focus there and instead sentiments took over reasons, hence the whole IGP issue became personalized which is very unfortunate.
President Adama Barrow gave a vital statement or remarks in Faraba Banta when he said “in a government there is a chain of command” which is undisputable. The problem is, in the case of the Inspector General of Police the protocol of that chain of command seems to be neglected and sidelined by the Barrow administrationen in order to save the faces of the Interio Minister Mr Mballow and the Director General of State Intelligence Services Ousman Sowe. The IGP became the scapegoat. Let us please look into this issue pragmatically without being too emtional. In a functional democracy and in normal circumstances where leaders are answerable and the due process of the law is preserved, then without doubt the first people to admit responsibility and graciously step down in the Faraba Banta carnage should have been the Minister of Interior and the Director General of SIS. The reason is simple and clear. The overall costodian of our internal security lies within the juridiction of the Minister of Interior, the Director of SIS and the IGP. They are the pillars of the National Security Council. This should be the present chain of command or hierarchy in our security institutions if we are to go through the due process of the law. The IGP should be answerable to these two vital institutions and that is why they should go if the IGP goes. That is the official hierarchy of the Gambian security institutions. In fact, under normal circumstances the IGP should have been the last to quit his post. The Gambia is no more that mighty River Gambia where the big fish swallow the small fish. Mr. President, we are so many in The Gambia that look on to you for guidance and justice. Please do not let us down lest our opponents will be vindicated.
Now, let us consider the IGP for taking personal responsibility to resign. Where does that leave the Interior Minister and Director General of SIS who are indirectly the IGP’s superior in hierarchy chart? Do you get it? Put aside for a moment, all allegations levied against the IGP in the Faraba Banta sand mining and his alleged connection to “Julakay” and concentrate on the principles of the chain of command from the President. The allegations against the IGP will surely be included and dealt with in the Faraba Banta disaster investigation later. Remember though, one is innocent until proven guilty in a competent court of law.
We are all waiting for the outcome of the commission of inquiry the President suggested and hope that something tangible will come out of it. Justice must be seen to be served here. What took place in Faraba Banta is appalling and should never happen again.
THIS IS WHAT PART 3 OF THE CONSTITUTION SAYS:
National 78. (1) There shall be a National Security Council which shall consist of-
(a) the President;
(b) the Vice-President;
(c) the Secretaries of State responsible for defence and
(d) the Chief of Defence Staff and two other members
of the Armed Forces appointed by the President;
(e) the Inspector General of Police;
(f) the Director-General of the National intelligence
(g) the intelligence adviser to the President.
(2) The National Security Council shall be responsible for advising the President on all matters relating to the security of The Gambia and the integration of domestic and foreign policies relating to its security, and, under the direction of the President, shall take appropriate measures to safeguard the internal and external security of The Gambia and to provide for the co-operation of the departments and agencies of the Government in that regard.
Here all these bodies have failed in their duties to the Gambian State. The National Security Council shall be responsible for advising the President on all matters relating to the security domestic and foreign.
Now you understand why President Adama Barrow is in the forefront of this investigation and proposed a commission of inquiry. The constitution says the President is part of the National Security Council, President Barrow’s reaction is in line with the constitution. THE INTELLIGENCE ADVISER TO THE PRESIDENT HAS FAILED IN NUMERIOUS OCCUSATIONS.
May God guide our nation to prosperity.