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EU Ambassador says SSR Has Not Yet Yielded Tangible Changes

European Union (EU) Ambassador to The Gambia, Attila Lajos, expressed his disappointment at the slow pace of the Security Sector Reforms (SSR), disclosing that tangible changes in the SSR are yet to be felt by the Gambian population.

 

He made this remark at a forum organised by the Geneva Center for Security Sector governance DCAF at a local hotel in Banjul on Wednesday, 18th September, 2019.

 

“Tangible changes in the security sector are yet to be felt by the population. What I witness is an increasing public and institutional frustration with lack of progress and a situation worsened by the absence of communication at the highest level,” Ambassador Lajos observed.

He warns that only clear political direction can address the matters surrounding the SSR process, noting that it is time for visible reforms that are genuinely participatory as the TRRC and CRC can be felt by the population.

“So far, the main achievements of the SSR has been the development of a National Security Policy (NSP) launched in 2019. In May, two drafting teams were commissioned to draft the National Security Strategy (NSS) and the Security Sector Reform (SSR) strategy,” he expressed his frustration to the SSR process.

President Barrow meeting with subregional security chiefs at State House

According to him, the SSR can take inspiration from the TRRC and the CRC processes, arguing that it should not only be a matter of the security and experts. He said it should be owned by the population in order to provide them with the change that they voted for in December of 2016.

The EU Ambassador observed that the deficiencies and malpractices under the regime of Yahya Jammeh as highlighted by the TRRC has given significant information to SSR that can be used to address key areas as part of the reform process.

For the EU’s continuous support of the SSR process, Ambassador Lajos said, “As for EU, our commitment must be measured by more than just the Euros and Dalasis we spend. The true sign of success is not whether we (EU) are the source of aid that helps people scrape by. It is whether we are partners in building capacity for transformational change.”

He observed that what The Gambia needs at this stage is a Security Sector Reform that aims to transform an abusive security system into one that will respect and protect human rights which he said, is crucial for transitional justice.

“Each nation gives life to its own way and in line with its own tradition. But history offers a class verdict: Governments that respect the will of their people are more prosperous, more stable and more successful than governments that do not,” he warned.

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