Lieutenant General Masaneh Kinteh, the chief of Defence Staff of The Gambia Armed Forces has challenged his men and women to be loyal, maintain a high standard of discipline and respect authority.
According to him, discipline and loyal officers are needed to ensure a vibrant armed forces. "You cannot be loyal to the country if you are not loyal to the head of state and you cannot also be loyal to the head of state if you are not loyal to the country," he stressed. The CDS made this remarks last Friday, while presiding over the swearing-in ceremony of 50 senior and junior officers of the Gambian Armed Forces at the Yahya Jammeh Joint Officers Mess in Kotu.
According to him, the ceremony was in continuation of the previous ones administered by the Gambian leader, His Excellency Sheikh Professor Dr Alhaji Yahya Jammeh who is also the commander-in-chief.
He further challenged them to live up to expectation and maintain the high sense of discipline in the profession. He also urged them to go by the oaths they subscribed to and thanked them for their efforts that made them to be chosen among many to their new ranks. He urged them to keep up the confidence and trust bestowed on them. As soldiers, he went on, "you must be able to maintain and safeguard the information of your office and function. We should also be the watchdogs of peace in ensuring the maintenance of peace within the territory," he stated.
For his part, Major General Yakuba Drammeh, the deputy chief of Defence Staff of The Gambia Armed Forces, reminded the officers that taking oath is considered sacred and that any infringement with regards to what they have said is considered committing an offence and therefore they are subject to be punishable in the eyes of God. "We must safeguard the integrity of this country and remember The Gambia is all what we have and we owed her an obligation and any action we take as an individual. We must preserve the integrity and unity of this great country and be ready to protect her people and properties and her leadership," said the deputy CDS.
He added: "If one is not patriotic, you cannot be loyal. Again, put at the backs of your minds that discipline is also considered an integral part of patriotism and that we must preserve the integrity and unity of this great country at all cost."
For his part, Brigadier General Ebrima Bah, the inspector general of the Army, buttressed the fact that a soldier cannot be loyal if he or she is not appreciative and is not contented with what he or she has. "Let me tell you one thing, The Gambia is small such that if you have bad intention against anybody, one day or the other it would be revealed. Swearing by the Holy Book, you cannot fake people, you have to be patriotic and loyal to your leadership and that has to be from the bottom of your heart. You must cherish and love this country," he said.
The newly-promoted officers took six oaths in the order of seniority and both reaffirmed their commitment to the ideals and principles of the military, which calls for patriotism, unity and camaraderie amongst their co-officers and the junior ones. The new ranks range from Colonel, Lieutenant Colonel Major, Captain down to sub-Lieutenant. The ceremony was moderated by Lieutenant Omar Bojang, the public relations officer of The Gambia Armed Forces.