The Gambia Armed Forces on Monday 13 May 2019 convened a press briefing on the proposed Agricultural project with AGCO Group, an American Company that has its regional headquarters in South Africa, at the Defence Headquarters Conference Hall in Banjul.
In attendance was Colonel Essa Tamba the Director of Child Welfare Unit of GAF who is the Chairperson of the Agricultural Project Committee and the Director of Press and Public Relations (DPPR) of GAF Major Lamin K. Sanyang as well as the media fraternity.
During the press briefing, the DPPR of GAF outlined the primary and secondary functions of GAF in accordance to the constitution of the republic of The Gambia noting that it is a social contract document that spells out the rights and responsibilities of citizens; that it creates institutions of state and tasks them with certain defined responsibilities. He stated that the GAF is by no means an exception to this reality. The GAF’s creation is a mandatory constitutional directive and its functions are also constitutional in nature.
At the end of the briefing journalists were allowed to ask questions and make clarifications. In answer to one of the journalists, Maj Sanyang said that every nation in the history of humanity had different needs for a military. According to him, how these needs are determined forms the basis of their composition, organization and command structures, strength and its corresponding logistic requirements. He posited that this also determines what the military does in peace and wartimes. According to Maj Sanyang, all Armed Forces, whether large or small, are organized to perform certain functions and fulfill certain National Security roles. This is necessary to justify their existence as a vibrant national defence and security instrument he stressed.
The DPPR using the Constitution to justify the Gambia Armed Forces’ involvement in agricultural activities indicated that the roles of the GAF are categorized into principal functions and other functions outside its traditional roles. This is succinctly captured in Section 187 of The Constitution as follows:
(1) To preserve and defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of The Gambia against external aggression.
(2) To aid the civil authorities, at their request, in emergencies and in case of natural disasters.
(3) To engage at the request of the civil authorities in productive activities, such as agriculture, engineering, health and education for the development of The Gambia.