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