SHIFTING FROM TRADITIONAL MILITARY SECURITY TO HUMAN SECURITY IN THE GAMBIA.
The Gambia security services have been given a little academic attention with no civilian control creating a militaristic security in the past military regime of Jammeh. It is against this backdrop; I write this essay for better understanding of the security dimension in the ongoing security sector reform (SSR) in the Gambia in my observation. Having said that, with the new dispensation ongoing institutional reforms expectations are high in shifting from military form security to human security in the country. Evidently, with the country first National Security Policy as well as the recent launching of the National Security Strategy and Security Sector Reforms (SSR) which is expected give an impetus to the overall architect of security sector governance in the Gambia. Human Security is a security concept that became prominence following the United Nations 1994 Human Development Report (HDR). In that report, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) suggested that focus should be shifted from nuclear security to human Security with the view broadened and deepened the term security ( Tadjabakhsh and Chenoy 2009) given that many of the conflicts are within countries rather than between nations (Smith 2005). It encompasses seven key areas namely economic security,food security , health security, environmental security, personal security, community security and political security rather than restricting the term that will not allow further analysis (Smith 2005). The report further identified six main threat to human security such unchecked population growth, disparities in economic opportunities, migration pressures , environmental degradation ,drug trafficking and International terrorism ( Smith 2005). In that line, It is about the protection of the lives and breathes of the citizens that have suffered tremendously in the hands of the security forces especially infamous hit squad called Jungulars during the past regime. This school thought argued that there are plethora of destructive effects that are already ravaging individuals and communities throughout the world (Sommaruga 2004 and Soeya 2005). The death , destruction and instability are not directly cause by the interstate wars or terrorism fighting as opposed to the mainstream views (Collins 2007). For example millions are dying from preventable and treatable diseases such as HIV and AIDS, Ebola ,malaria and Covid-19 amongst others. In 2014 to 2016 , thousands died from Ebola outbreak in West Africa especially in Sierra Leone, Liberia as well as Guinea Conakry due to the infection from Ebola virus. In addition,the recent outbreak of Covid-19 which is causing havoc on the lives and livelihood of the people worldwide (Collins 2007). In the past, many countries suffered from earthquake,floods, tsunami, epidemics and other natural disasters that drive thousands from their homes and villages. The destruction of farmlands and food scarcity amongst others have grave consequences to human existence. According to Collins (2007), it is problematic as well as an assault to human welfare, physical security and human dignity which require the broadening and deepening the concept of security. In that light, someone can argue that the security is focusing more from the state to individual and individuals to individuals basic needs in our societies.
In my view, in this dimension i will agree with the argument advance by Thomas (1987) ,that material sufficiency such as food, shelter, education, health as well as human dignity are core of human security in a country. This shift should be encouraged and sustained in the ongoing democratisation processes for democratic consolidation in the Gambia. Given that, the most promising and sustainable development is the link between security and development with civil control over security services in the country.
To conclude, human security is that involved the protection of human life, individuals, communities, vulnerable groups, minorities, refugees as well as democratic institutions within the states. That is the way forward and must be sustained with the view to create an environment that will be hostile to bad governance and corruption in the country.
By Maduwa Sinera