AU pledges support for Gambia’s transitional program

AU pledges support for Gambia’s transitional program

The African Union has sent a 10-man delegation on an assessment mission to Gambia on areas the continental body could help the country to rebuild after two decades of dictatorship.

The former President of Burundi, Pierre Buyoya, and his delegation have held a close door meeting with country’s vice president, Fatoumata Tambajang over issues of importance during the country’s transition.

The leader of the delegation, Buyoya, told SMBC after their meeting with Tambajang that they have come “to see in which way the African Union can assist, concretely, in confronting some of the challenges Gambia is facing.”

Buyoya said their visit focuses on how to help Gambia on security sector reforms, economic reforms and also the building of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

“We have learned that the Gambia government wants to establish a truth and reconciliation commission but there is a whole process leading up to that. The African Union is determined to accompany Gambia to prepare this process. We are ready to assist and there is a lot of experience in Africa about TRC,” Buyoya said.

“… We learned that there is a need to reform the security sector to be better trained, more professional and which works within the framework of democracy and is accountable. Again in Africa, we have a lot of experience in this area.”

The group met with President Adama Barrow on Tuesday and they have met the Vice President and Justice Minister on Wednesday.

Normalcy has returned to the Gambia after a rocky take over of power. West African forces were deployed to the small country to oust former president, Yahya Jammeh, who refused to cede power after losing elections.

Since seizing power in a 1994 coup, Jammeh has won landslide victories in four previous polls. International, continental, and regional organizations such as the United Nations (UN), the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), as well as some Western powers (the US and France), have all called on Jammeh to accept the result of the polls and ensure a peaceful transfer of power to Mr. Barrow.

The African Union had backed Barrow’s presidency during the political standoff, declaring it will not recognize Mr. Jammeh after his term expires. It declared the elections that brought Barrow to power free and fair.

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