Justice Minster responds to Overdue Electoral Reforms and Slow Security Sector Reforms

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By Yusef Taylor, @FlexDan_YT

Earlier in May 2019 Gainako’s Flex Dan published an article in which the Justice Minister Hon. Ababacarr Tambedu laid out plans for Electoral Reforms with Political Parties set to conclude in August 2019. The timeline below was extracted from his detailed plan on Electoral Reforms.

Electoral Reform Program, Source Justice Minister, May 2019

The Justice Ministry has its workload cut out as it continues to spearhead the Government’s numerous reform efforts. In December 2019 the draft Constitution will be submitted to the Executive which will also keep his Ministry occupied. Not to mention other areas of reform including Security Sector Reforms, the Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission and implementing the recommendations of the Janneh Commission and selling Jammeh and his accomplices assets.

This article aims to provide an update on the overdue efforts for Electoral Reforms and the leadership of the Security Sector Reforms process. Below is the audio of the initial plans announced in May 2019 stating that Electoral reforms are set to conclude in August 2019.

Electoral Reforms

Gainako, Flex Dan: “Earlier in May 2019 you said that by August 2019 you will be concluding plans on Electoral reforms with Gambian Political Parties. What is the latest on that as we are now in October and nothing has been said about Electoral Reforms?”

Justice Minister, Baa Tambedu: “In terms of the Electoral Process, I think we have worked closely with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), the IEC took the lead at some point. We have received from them proposals for amendment of the Elections Act. We are going to go through one round of consultations with the Political Parties about that before we finally get to do the drafting of that amendment.

So Yes, we have missed our deadline of August, its September, October but I have said here in the past I have capacity challenges and I have said that it is going to affect the speed at which these processes are going to be undertaken and this is one of the consequences. When I don’t have the staff to do the job that I have to do within the time I have to do it affects my output. So this is where we are.”

Below is an audio of the Justice Minister responding to questions from Gainako’s Flex Dan on Electoral and Security Sector Reforms in October 2019.

Who is in charge of Security Sector Reforms?

Gainako, Flex Dan: “You took up the role as the lead for the SSR Process, we’ve heard a lot said about that. We’ve heard what the EU has said about that. Are you still in charge there is a new Minister of Defense?

Justice Minister, Baa Tambedu: “As far as I know I am still the chair of the Security Sector steering committee notwithstanding the appointment of a new Minister of Defense as far as I know.”

Gainako, Flex Dan: “They say that it’s been very slow. What’s your response to that?”

Justice Minister, Baa Tambedu: “We can’t deny that it’s been very slow. To the frustration of many including myself. And I think that is why his excellency the President thought it perhaps prudent, wise to appoint me as Chair and I think some progress has been made since my appointment.

We have launched the National Security policy. We have drafted and adopted the two Strategy documents the teams have gone on study tours to Ghana and Sierra Leone and I think the process of implementing those strategies will start in earnest.

So some progress has been made as I am sure you will remember the EU representative recognising that progress after my appointment. So it’s slow but we’re getting there.”

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