Banjul, Gambia 22nd July 2019
The ECOWAS Resident Representative in the Gambia, Ambassador Vabah Gayflor has expressed appreciation to the European Union (EU) and other development partners for supporting ongoing peace and security initiatives in the Gambia including the national security sector and electoral reforms.
“From its interventions individually and in conjunction with other partners, ECOWAS is one of the key actors in the Steering Committee on peace, security and stability in the Gambia (the others being the EU and the United Nations), Ambassador Gayflor said in an interview in her office in Banjul, the Gambia capital on Monday 22nd July 2019.
ECOWAS has a military Mission, ECOMIG, supporting peace and stability in the country even before the inauguration of incumbent President Adama Barrow following the departure of former President Yahya Jammeh, who had ruled the Gambia for 22 years before losing in the December 2016 presidential poll.
The European Union and other partners are also providing support in the consolidation of peace, democracy and good governance in the country. The initiatives supported under funding from the European Union Support to ECOWAS Regional Peace, Security and Stability Mandate (EU-ECOWAS PSS) Project, include:
- Capacity building or various national institutions
- Training of Trainers workshops on peace building
- Facilitating MoU signed by political parties on collaboration
- Retreat to formulate Security Sector Reform Strategy and National Security Strategy
- National Consultations on Electoral Reforms by the Gambian Independent Electoral Commission
- Mainstreaming and integrating peace building in public policy, practices and delivery
- National Civic Education including experiencing sharing between Gambia and Ghana
“These support have contributed to the visibility of ECOWAS, we are active in the field engaging with stakeholders, state and non-state actors, including the civil society in the implementation and monitoring of the various intervention activities,” declared Ambassador Gayflor, who is also the civilian head of ECOMIG.
She explained that security sector reforms have involved the recruitment by the EU a senior security and Defence Adviser and training of Gambia’s defence and security personnel including the military, and police.
“The principal objective is put Gambia on the path of peace, and with the enabling environment for national reconciliation and development,” the Resident Representative said, affirming that the reforms are also geared towards facilitating the conduct of credible and peaceful elections in the country in 2021.
On behalf of the President of the ECOWAS Commission Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, the Resident Representative expressed gratitude to ECOWAS leaders for their foresight and commitment towards making on-going interventions possible.
On the way forward, the Resident Representative noted that the mandate of ECOMIG, which is due to end in September this year, has been extended to March 2020.
A major challenge, she said, has to do with national ownership, sustainability and consolidation of the potential gains of the reforms.