Chief of Defence Staff

  • CDS’s Profile
  • CDS’s Message

Lieutenant General Masanneh N Kinteh ORG, psc, MSc, PG Dip PA was born on 13 August 1968 in Sankwia Village Jarra West in the Lower River Region. He attended Pakalinding Primary School from 1975 to 1981. He later enrolled in Muslim High School where he sat to the GCE O Level in 1986 and proceeded to Gambia High School for his sixth form education.

  Lt Gen Masanneh N Kinteh     ORG, psc, MSc, PG Dip, PA         Chief of Defence Staff
    Gambia Armed Forces

General Kinteh had a brief spell in the teaching field from 1988 to 1990 and taught mainly mathematics in some Senior Secondary Schools. In November 1990, General Kinteh attempted and passed the Commission Selection Board (CSB) organized by the British Army Training Team (BATT) for the selection of potential officer cadets. He was enlisted into the Gambia National Army on 15 March 1991 and attached to the BATT to undergo Individual and Foundational Officer Training. In August 1991, he joined Recruit Intake 16 for basic recruit training at the Farafenni Training Depot.

In May 1992, the Nigerian Army Training and Advisory Group (NATAG) was set up in the Gambia and Gen Kinteh was recalled from Farafenni to serve under NATAG as an instructor on the Army Certificate of Education (ACE) Programme as well as an instructor for the re-enlisted members of GNA.

In September 1992 General Kinteh was promoted to the rank of Officer Cadet and sent to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in the United Kingdom. During his cadet training in Sandhurst, Gen Kinteh pursued further studies in Communication, Defense and International Affairs. He won the Commandants Award on an article he wrote entitled; The Importance of Surprise to the Germans in  the Second World War. Upon his return from Sandhurst, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant on 9 December 1994.

In January 1995, the senior officer was posted to the Gambia National Army Training School as Chief Instructor. He trained Recruit intakes 17, 18 and 19 and also conducted a series of cadres and courses for officers and soldiers of the GNA. He was promoted to the rank of lieutenant in September 1996.

In 1997, he had his first staff appointment at the Army Headquarters under the Administration and Logistics cell. He was appointed Public Relations Officer in 1998 and also doubled as a Staff Officer under the Training and Operations Cell. He was later posted to 1 Infantry Battalion as a Company Commander in 1999. General Kinteh was promoted to the rank of Captain in Jan 2000 and later appointed as Commanding Officer 2 Infantry Battalion.

In July 2001, he proceeded to the Command Staff College in Nigeria for Junior Division. In January 2002, he earned his first peace-keeping mission experience in Sierra Leone as a Military Observer under the auspices of the United Nations. During his tour of duty, Gen Kinteh held senior appointments such as Deputy Team Leader and later Acting Team Leader until the end of his assignment in December 2002. But the General was back in the peace-keeping arena in September 2003 with the deployment of the Gambia Contingent to Liberia as a second in command.

Following his return from the peace missions, Gen Kinteh served as Deputy Commandant of the training school in January 2003 and again appointed Commanding Officer 2nd Infantry Battalion in September 2004. In December 2004, the officer was promoted to the rank of Major and appointed Commander, Gambia National Army, a title which was later changed to Chief of Army Staff.

General Kinteh proceeded to do his Senior Division Course at the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College in September 2005. While in Ghana, Gen. Kinteh also pursued an academic programme and conducted extensive research on Tourism Development in the Gambia. He wrote a paper on Tourism Development in the Gambia, Strengths and Weaknesses which earned him the Commandants Research Paper Award in August 2006.

He was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in March 2006 while on training in Ghana and on 25 September 2007, the officer was promoted to the rank of Colonel and appointed the Deputy Chief of Defence Staff of The Gambia Armed forces. General Kinteh is a seasoned Infantry officer with a wealth of command experience ranging from platoon, company, battalion to Army Commander.

In addition to his regular military training, he pursued other courses in such diverse areas as United Nations Peace-keeping, Human Rights, Child Rights and Child Protection and Small Arms and Light Weapons proliferation in Africa. He holds a diploma in National Development from the Republic of Taiwan and a Post Graduate Diploma in Public Administration from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA). He pursued other civil courses in Namibia, Burkina Faso and the United Kingdom.

The Lieutenant General is decorated with a Long Service and Good Conduct medal, Distinguished Service Medal, National Order medal, National Development medal (Taiwan) and United Nations medals for Peace-keeping in Sierra Leone and Liberia.

General Kinteh enjoys jogging, watching football and documentary movies and loves discussing Military Tactics and Strategy.

General Kinteh is married and blessed with children.

Please allow me to use this medium to thank His Excellency the President of the Republic and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces, Adama Barrow and the entire Government for the support and guidance rendered to the Gambia Armed Forces.

I wish to reaffirm the loyalty and commitment of personnel of the Gambia Armed Forces as well as our conviction that we are subservient to civilian authority and rule. I wish to congratulate Your Excellency the President and some members of your cabinet for accomplishing one of the cardinal pillars of Islam by performing Hajj this year. I pray that Almighty Allah showers his infinite blessings on you and accept all the supplications you have made for this country during the Hajj.

It is gratifying to report that I have just concluded a tour of military installations and facilities since my resumption as the Chief of Defence Staff. During the tour, I was privileged to interact with a cross-section of communities such as local authorities, traditional leaders, youth groups as well as friends of the Armed Forces. I wish to thank you all for the warm welcome accorded my delegation and be rest assured of my determination and commitment to further strengthen civil-military relations for the benefit of our people.

By the same token, my recent visits to the Gambia Radio and Television Services (GRTS) as well as the Gambia Press Union (GPU) are testimony of the desire by my office to reach out to the media fraternity. I am convinced that the media plays a critical role in the socio-economic development of every nation. Therefore, as a national instrument of defence and security, it is imperative that we partner with the Fourth estate, so to speak, in order to inform the public about our activities. This breeds accountability and trust in all institutions and GAF is not immune to this reality. I hope to continue in this endeavor to meet with the press as often as my work permits to build on these gains over time.

Our distinguished readership, it is also my ardent desire to reinvigorate the Gambia Armed Forces by instituting measures and reforms that will put the GAF on a better footing to carry out its constitutional mandate. I wish to report that during the period under review, I have opened two new Battalions namely the 3rd Infantry Battalion in Basse and the 4th Infantry Battalion in Kanilai. I am of the conviction that the Gambia Armed Forces is a “Peoples’ Armed Force” and these reforms and transformations are in line with my new vision.

I had the unique opportunity to unveil my new vision during the recently concluded GAF Officers’ Study Period held at the Joint Officers’ Mess. This convergence of our middle and senior cadre of officers, as part of my reform and transformation agenda, gave me the platform to highlight this blueprint which runs thus: “A highly transformed, motivated, apolitical and non-tribally inclined Armed Force that is fully equipped and  prepared to execute its Constitutional roles, contributing meaningfully to national development and playing key roles in the maintenance of regional and global peace and stability and at the same time subjected to democratic civilian control and accountability”.

It calls for a concerted and professional outlook on our part as a defence and security instrument to be prepared to take our rightful place in the new political dispensation ushered in by the Presidential elections of 1st December 2016. The Gambia Armed Forces cannot and should not take a back seat but rather be at the forefront of the national reform agenda. It is hoped that this Study Period and many others to follow will ensure that we are up and ready to defend and protect the territorial integrity of The Gambia; that we are ready to subject ourselves to civil authority and therefore not be used against our own people.

The message of our recent apology and repudiation of the ideals of the 22nd July Revolution is a clarion manifestation of our renewed stance in the New Gambia. I want to assure you all that a New Gambia Armed Forces is born; retransformed, motivated, fully prepared and equipped to execute its national security roles while at the same time contributing to national development and maintaining peace and stability.

These are in short some of the key reform and transformation programmes, amongst others I have embarked on with a view to fulfilling my new vision over the years ahead. I will not leave any stone unturned in my quest to realizing that we are a fully professional, efficient and effective Armed Forces ready to take our rightful place in the twenty first century.