The New Gambia has many needs in terms of institutions, processes and norms to form her essential content. One of these needed institutions is a new law enforcement agency suggestively called The Republican Bureau of Investigation (RBI). Such a need has become more apparent and necessary especially after recent events in Kanilai and the Fonis, the questionable arrest and detention of Lawyer Bubacar Badgie (Legal Adviser of ‘SIS’) and the stripping of the hitherto main investigative agency of The Gambia, NIA (now SIS) of its arresting and detention powers by the President of the Republic in exercise of his powers and prerogative, earlier this year.
Due to the change of government and the new political environment that it had ushered; the rule of law, good governance and democracy, the need for new approaches in policing, law enforcement and justice delivery has become more urgent and complex in many regards. It is also an undeniable fact that the only remaining institution which now has the sole power of carrying out law enforcement functions in the country is the Gambia Police Force (GPF) and to a limited extent the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDEA). This institution (GPF) is very much underfunded, ill equipped and acutely unprepared for the increase and more serious demands of modern day law enforcement in the New Gambia and carried out under increased public scrutiny, with stricter procedural conformity to the law and accountability.
The Investigation units of the Gambia Police Force including the Serious Crimes Unit (SCU) were marginalized and rendered irrelevant for two decades under the dictatorial regime of the APRC government. This accounts for its limited operational experience, shortage of skilled investigators, lack of adequate forensic equipment and limited knowledge in proper procedures necessary to protect crime scenes and preserve evidence for possible prosecution. These deficits are quite steep for such an inelastic state institution to overcome in a reasonable period when the demands for its services will continue to increase, if not already at such unprecedented levels i.e. the soon to be constituted Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).
The absence of a well-equipped and professional investigation agency like the one I am proposing let to too many delays and other technical difficulties for the task force investigating the alleged unlawful deaths and disappearances of the Jammeh regime. These in turn lead to the need for short term training of our police and military Investigators by bilateral partners such as United States through its FBI as reported and acquiring foreign experts such as pathologist to address the knowledge gap in identifying bodies and ascertaining the causes of death in those gruesome murders.
We cannot stuff our collective heads in the sand by expecting antiquated institutions of law enforcement to adequately address our new democratic demands of law and order, institutional accountability and good governance on the basis of the sovereignty of the Gambian citizenry. These and other technical reasons make it fiscally prudent, timely and efficient to establish a complimentary, streamlined and specialist investigative agency from the ground up with all necessary components needed to address the law enforcement needs in our new dispensation.
The Republican Bureau of Investigation (RBI) will mirror in terms of institutional scope, professionalism and capabilities of its counterparts such as the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) of the United States of America and is inline what the New Gambia needs and deserve. I urge the government to move quickly on this recommendation while we have the support and attention of our regional partners like ECOWAS and the AU, developmental partners such as the EU and indeed the world. I rest my case.
Written by Anonymous the Patriot