All the security apparatus in The Gambia - the army, the police including the police intervention unit, and the fire and rescue services – have been stopped from marrying each other.
A security source has told this paper that the Ministry of Interior has issued a circular to all the national security agencies banning all officers of the same security unit from marrying each other.
The public relations officers of the Gambia Fire and Rescue Services and the Gambia Armed Forces have confirmed the new development, although the Police could not be reached for their comments.
According to the security source, the reason for such a move is “to maintain discipline and efficiency at work in the security.”
The source said, for instance, if a female officer does anything wrong or acts contrary to rules and norms of the security apparatus, effective disciplinary actions will hardly be taken against that officer if she happens to be the wife of the senior officer in charge of that station or guard post.
And if other senior officers happen to effect disciplinary actions on the wife, it hardly goes down well with the husband and could bring enmity between the husband and the officer(s) who effect the punishment.
Again, the source said, there is likelihood that the wife will be reluctant to take orders from his husband by virtue of their relationship.
However, previously officers of all other security units were allowed to marry from within the same unit except officers of the Fire and Rescue Services who have been maintaining the colonial law.
In a similar vein, as part of the same circular from the Ministry of Interior, henceforth married female officers are now prohibited from getting pregnant before the first two years of their recruitment into the security unit.
It is said this is done to make the female officers to work for at least two years to get more experience before getting pregnant “because when you are pregnant as an officer, you cannot work actively and security needs activeness”.