This ceremony is a parade of officers who queue up in two parallel lines holding a long rope tide to a military vehicle. The outgoing CDS after the formal handing over of office to the new man enters the awaiting vehicle led by military band with Officers holding the rope and pulling the vehicle out of the office territory.

On 27 February 2017, GAF conducted such an event for the first time in its historical existence. Officers of GAF gathered at the Defence Headquarters waiting for the official handing and taking over of office between Lieutenant General Ousman Bargie (rtd) and Lieutenant General Masanneh N Kinteh for the ceremony to commence. After officially signing the handing over documents the incoming CDS, General Kinteh spoke to the press about his ambitions for GAF. He said he is aware of the enormous task ahead and therefore needs all hands on deck. To
enable him realize his vision for GAF. He noted that his first step will be to reform the institution to modern military standards. He said government has plans for the country’s armed forces, which include reforms, restructuring, as well as transformation which he said are crucial in the new political dispensation. He said he will spare no effort and time to get the task done, adding that with the collaboration and support of partners it is something that can be achieved within a short time. He said his key priority will be to restore confidence in GAF and bolster Civil-Military relations “I want to make sure we get over that huddle, and make sure soldiers see themselves as citizens of this country who deserve to be respected, admired and be role models.”
He posited that a soldier is a citizen so they should see themselves as citizens, as well as an embodiment of protection to the weak and innocent. He equally challenged soldiers to prepare for a return to civil life after military career. “Soldiers should do whatever it takes to be able to develop and prepare themselves as professionals, and also going back to society where they come from.” He added that one of the cardinal points of his administration is to see that the peace and stability of The Gambia is maintained. To communities, institutions and individuals in the country, the CDS sends his reassurances of better relations. “The armed forces will be lifted once again to very higher heights, civil-military relation is key in this new dispensation, as the government wants to make sure the armed forces are professional and are ready to serve the country”.

He said he had been working with ECOMIG before their deployment in the country, and would continue to work with them harmoniously. He noted that they will continue to engage ECOMIG as they have to collaborate in many ways. He thanked the Commander-In-Chief, His Excellency Adama Barrow for trusting him at a time of uncertainty, when Gambians witnessed a political impasse that nearly plunged the nation into an ugly situation. He also thanked the outgoing CDS for his effort during the impasse.

It could be recalled that Lieutenant General Masanneh N Kinteh was head of GAF until July 2012 when he was redeployed to the Foreign Service by the former President. He served as a deputy Ambassador to the Republic of Cuba until his appointment as CDS GAF by President Adama Barrow. The former CDS on his part expressed gratitude to members of GAF for their steadfastness during the trying moments of the impasse while equally thanking the government of President Barrow for his redeployment into the Foreign Service.

Author: Ssgt Marong LS