The Former Minister of Interior and leader of The Gambia Moral Congress Hon Mai Fatty reacting to President Barrow’s address on National Security said the surge in crime in the country has nothing to do with the political freedom in the country. Below is his full statement
The ‘surge’ in crime, particularly violent crime, has nothing to do with the expansive enjoyment of political freedom. It has everything to do with governance deficit, high unemployment, hopelessness among the youth, misplaced priorities and neglect of the basic needs of the GPF and other internal security agencies. Linking political freedom to violent crime rates, demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of the underlying causes. That is a huge problem. We had hoped for concrete action plans (comprehensive solutions), with specific details as urgent intervention variables, to directly tackle this emergency head-on. It did not come; instead what came was very abstract and did not even address the challenge. That too is a huge problem. Tackling such an emergency calls for decisive leadership.
Invoking the National Guards should be the very last and final resort for the State. It is a proposal that should be on the table if the GPF had been granted more funds, facilities, logistics, tools and devices, opportunity and yet proven totally incapable of meeting the emergency. This hasn’t been done. I’d strictly advise against military intervention because it is unnecessary and infact should not even have been an option to publicly talk about at this stage.
Based on objective, critical analysis of the security situation accessible to us, the GPF and border patrol agency – GID can adequately handle this crime wave if provided required resources and tools with immediate effect. The first element of crime control is detection. Relatively, the GPF has the best intelligence unit in this country, and more assets on the ground, considering existing circumstances.
This is NOT for the military. It is wrong advice and a dangerous precedent to set.
We maintained stability and security in 2017 at the most volatile period of the transition without bringing the army into civilian space. I know the men and women at the GPF because I worked with them. With all the challenges they face, I am confident they are up to the task. To get the job done, they need sufficient resources as a matter of utmost priority urgency and motivation to rid the streets of criminals, and put them in jail where they belong. The National Guards have no place at this time. And should never be needed if we support, resourced and capacitize the GPF without delay.