By Nelson Manneh
Lawmakers have on Tuesday urged the Minister of Foreign Affairs to Re-visit the Agreement between the Government of the Gambia and Geneva Center for Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCFA) and further present it for adoption.
The agreement was laid before the Deputies by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon: Momodou Tangara and was referred to the standing committee of the National Assembly on defence in June 2019 for ratification.
The Chairman of the standing committee on defence Hon: Halifa Sallah presented the observations made by the committee as the document was referred to them for consideration.
Hon Sallah said an assessment of the security sector revealed the absence of a national security policy and strategy that would guide sectoral policies and strategic plans of the different security institutions.
Hence the reform was considered to be inconceivable with consultation and dialogue aimed at drafting and adopting a national security policy and strategy.
“On the 19th of May 2019 the first national security policy of the Gambia was launched. Consultation has started on the security reform strategy formulation,” he said.
The National Assembly Member for Serrekunda said a zero draft has been prepared which proposes a security sector strategy 2020 to 2025.
The strategy has to address security, governance, administration, management, oversight and the form of operations of the security institutions in terms of maintenance of personnel, functions, operational approaches and security mindsets, he said.
Hon: Sallah said the Assembly may ratify an agreement only if it is in line with the dictates of the constitution.
“Section 79 subsection 2 of the constitution state that the Gambia shall not enter in to any agreement with any other country which causes it to lose its sovereignty without the matter first being put to referendum and passed by such majority as maybe prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly,” he said.
As a matter of principle, the MP for Serrekunda said the body should only ratify an agreement if it gives rise to commitment that does not derogate from its sovereignty.
Furthermore, he said what should be before them for ratification is a treaty or international agreement formally negotiated and signed by the government of the Gambia.
“In all international agreements, the sovereignty of the republic must be safeguarded. This is done by having a renunciation or denunciation clause which will enable party to withdraw agreement upon given reasonable notice to that effect,” he said.
The Chairman of the standing committee on defence said the agreement is designed to give legal protection for DCAF to consider its presence in the Gambia since it is already engaged with the executive and the legislature.