The Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) of The Gambia Armed Force (GAF) Lieutenant General Masanneh Kinteh, Monday June 11th, urged soldiers to stay away from drugs and related vices; that anyone found wanting, will be dismissed with immediate effect.
"The army will not tolerate drugs and anyone found wanting on this banned substance, will be dismissed from the army," he warned.
CDS Kinteh made these and other remarks at the Joint Officer's Mess in Kotu, during a Promotional Exam for 96 Officers of GAF, who are due for promotion to various ranks within the Army. The promotional exercise was aimed to test the intellectual and professional fitness of candidates as well as improving the operational effectiveness, professionalism, respect for human rights and better civil-military relation, within GAF and sister security forces and the citizens.
"It is meant to be able to carry each and every one along in this new reform agenda. It is necessary for all of us to put in our efforts in ensuring that you understand the process and you are prepared to shoulder the responsibilities of junior and senior leadership, within GAF," CDS Kinteh posited.
According to him, the promotional exams is not meant to watch-hunt or expose anybody's inadequacy or deficiency, neither is it meant to pull or suppress anybody down.
"So those of you who are thinking that the exercise is meant to weed-out even those who work in the support services, is false. We know we have lots of problems when it comes to promotion. We are not inventing anything new. All what am doing and promising, is to leave by the book with a view to be able to run GAF, based on principles," he said.
CDS Kinteh concluded that they have linked up series of questions that will be given to the officers in the form of essay topics.
For his part, Assan Tangara, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Defense, said the promotion is part of the reform process at GAF; that a positive message has been put across for the promotion questions not be set by individuals; that this will alleviate the perception on fairness in the system.
He said selection for promotion will be based on meeting all the requirements; that the right personnels will be recommended for promotion so that they maintain professionalism in GAF.
Major General, Yakuba Drammeh, the Deputy Military Chief, said one of the most important agenda of CDS Kinteh's transformation and restructuring agenda of GAF, is in line with contemporary terms and conditions.
"We are given the responsibility to conduct this exercise. So we want to make sure that it is going to be a structure that will be coherent and transparent in accessing each and every one of you. Those who emerge legitimately with passes, will deserve to be promoted," he said.
"The promotion exam is designed to assess the individual's ability to critically analyze events both at the local and international levels and write service reports among host of others," he concluded.
Other speakers include the Navy Commander and GAF PRO.