Momodou Badjie, a retired military commander, and diplomat appointed by President Adama Barrow as his National Security Advisor has made institutional and organizational reforms his top priority.
Gambia’s security services and its citizens have been at crossroads for decades and the country’s new leaders are going full frontal to give, especially the army a new image.
The new National Security Advisor is eyeing to mitigate any further fall outs between the people and Gambian security forces and West African troops.
Gambians are wary of their security services and those in opposition strongholds regard West African troops that ousted former dictator Yahya Jammeh as an occupying force.
At least one person died during a clash between West African troops and supporters of Jammeh in the southwestern district of Foni Kansala.
Many investors are carefully watching The Gambia seeing how stable the country will be following two months of a political standoff that nearly slipped the country into a civil war.
An alleged attempt by a group of soldiers to revolt against Barrow was thwarted prompting Barrow to take actions that will make Jammeh’s loyalists less powerful and tighten his control of the army.
These with reports of external armed opposition threats to destabilize The Gambia means taking security measures that may contravene the Constitution and lead to rights abuses.
Badjie said balancing defense and the needs of the nation while working with various structures of society will help in the quick stabilization of the situation in the country.
He welcomed the UN’s pledge to help the Gambia with its military reform program. Organised security sector, he said, is important for economic development and democratic growth.
Gambia’s security services stand accused of committing gross human rights violations and the new government is being pushed to prosecute those responsible for grave crimes committed during the 22-year rule of Jammeh.
Jammeh regime never held anyone responsible for the abuses. It instead passed an Indemnity law that protects servicemen that committed crimes in the name of national security.
The arrest of at least two dozen former special forces officers for crimes against the state and human rights abuses has brought some closure but they are calling for a swift delivery of justice.
Rights groups have called for fair trials, which they say is crucial for victims and their families and for building respect for the rule of law in the country.