Gambia's military chief of staff OusmaneThe successor to The Gambia’s tyrannical regime needs to do a total transformation of the Gambian military. The army needs transformation in both professional, discipline and conduct. For any aggressive transformation to take place, emphasis must be placed on training. From the get go, our military were not trained to respect the civilians who pay for their monthly salaries. They lack basic civic education and constitutional awareness during their formal introduction into the national service. When they are on training, majority did not know the purpose or importance of serving their country. All they know is to be loyal to the leadership, particularly the dictator. They failed in their responsibility to establish trust with civilians, accountability and loyalty to the constitution of The Gambia. During the course of military service, soldiers are never encouraged or trained to disobey unethical or illegal orders. This is why today we have seen systematic illegal killings of fellow citizens with total impunity. Majority of Our Armed forces continue to violate basic principles of military values in any civilized society. Gambian military have lost the trust and confidence of Gambian people since 1994 when they removed the democratically elected government from power. This was the first betrayal of public trust. From that faithful event, the Gambian military under leadership of president Jammeh became a militia like group whose unprofessional conduct has become serious concern to every decent citizen.

President Jammeh has created death squad commonly known as Jugulars who are directly answerable to him. The military is also full of incompetent soldiers majority of whom cannot even follow simple instruction in the country’s official language (English). Today our military has become so politicized that those who are not from Jammeh’s tribe are treated with suspicion and vengeance. Promotions are simply based on loyalty to president Jammeh instead of competence. Our national interest is no longer a priority. During election or political campaign, our military are seen with the ruling APRC party flag and T-shirts bearing President Jammeh’s portrait. The proudly display such party symbol in public. Gambian military becomes the symbol of oppression not only for opposition leaders and their supporters but also the entire population including APRC supporters.

Jammeh has also infiltrated our military with his tribesmen from southern Senegal, a region besieged by three decades of separatist rebellion.

There is no ethical standard resulting to absence of integrity in every fabric of the national army. You can easily notice lack of trust among members of Armed forces. This has created untold sufferings, division and systematic killings of perceived and real enemies of the regime among the soldiers themselves. In a true professional military, soldiers are supposed to show compassion to even wounded soldiers during war time. They are supposed to show compassion to frightened and hungry civilians when they are difficult circumstances. They suppose to serve as the best hope for the nation which is why soldiers have taken an oath to protect and defend sovereignty of our country from both external and internal threats. Today, it is clear to every decent Gambian that our Armed Forces see the civilians as major threat to their existence. This is a complete departure from their constitutional responsibility which is to serve as agent of national security and also the national interest without any political affiliation . Our military is supposed to show best characters because they have volunteered to selflessly serve the country and protect those who cannot defend themselves. Their courage and selflessness should have served as inspiration to citizens who would look up to them as the best angels of our society. Instead we have seen arrogance and continue human rights violations coming from the military. During constitution crisis, our military should serve as the best defender of the constitution but today they are the number one violator of the very constitution they are supposed to protect and defend. It is time Gambian military go back to their primary responsibility which is to defend the constitution.

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