The turmoil in Kanilai is a definite and urgent reminder to President Adama Barrow to appoint the Vice President of The Gambia and treat it with such gravity.
The appointment of the Vice President is not only to be Mr. Barrow’s principal assistant but at such a crucial time when our peace and security is on the edge of the mountain, is to ensure the full functioning of the National Security Council.
The vice presidency of the Gambia is more than a ceremonial job. Adama Barrow has been frequently traveling out of the country amid the fragility of our state security and there is no Vice President to carry out his functions.
Above all, having a National Security Council is a constitutional requirement. It is chaired by the Vice President and has the responsibility of 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.
The council is to take appropriate measures to safeguard the internal and external security of The Gambia and to provide for the cooperation of the departments and agencies of the government in that regard.
Barrow has appointed his short-lived National Security Advisor, Lt. Gen. Masanneh Kinteh as his Chief of the Army and cabinet meetings and intelligence briefings are not frequent.
With an incident like the one in Kanilai or Farato, the National Security Council should be undertaking planning to neutralize groups that have or planning to perpetrate or incite violence against the public.
A high-level group like the National Security Council should be “urgently” attending to the issue of Kanilai and the incitement of discontent towards West African troops that are risking their lives to uphold the will of The Gambian people.
It is the “integration of domestic and foreign policies” relating to our national security that has brought ECOMIG troops to the Gambia. Advising the President on this is the responsibility of the National Security Council.
The National Security Council is incomplete without a Vice President and a National Security Advisor. Right now, in The Gambia, we do not even have one at such a pivotal moment.
It is, therefore, decisive for President Adama Barrow to immediately appoint the Vice President and a National Security Advisor, and establish the National Security Council, which will also monitor and take part in coordinating and streamlining the work of the West African troops and local security agencies.