Col. Sarr, the Gambia’s celebrity soldier!

By Janko

The saying goes: “show me your friends and I tell you who you are”, I would like to humbly add this: “read Samsudeen Sarr’s book – Coup D’etat by The Gambia National Army – and you know who he really is”.

For those who seem to have been surprised by the Retired “Colonel”’s move, I urge you to read his own book and you will come to the following conclusions about him.

1. He is not a soldier in the real sense: – In his own book, the “Colonel” unwittingly explained his own disappointing comportment in circumstances when he is expected to exhibit qualities of a soldier. Read the various chapters of this book, and you get a confirmation of what I am saying. In fact, the alleged description of Samsudeen by Lt. Sheriff Gomez as the type who “sit in the air-conditioned office” portraying himself as a soldier is a perfect cliché and it reveals a lot about him and how the younger officers see him. Worst of all, the man’s own description of himself as being “vulnerable” at the State House once the coup rumours began to circulate further indicates how much of a ceremonial soldier he had been. With this kind of chicken-hearted behaviour, one wonders how he became COLONEL. In fact, as the mutinous soldiers marched towards Banjul, what was going on in the “Colonel”‘s mind (in his own words) is: “….. my wife, kids, mother, and sisters all lived outside the city. I could not imagine being stranded in the island with the bridge closed”. With this sort of mindset, he took off from Major Saho’s office at the Marines Unit in Banjul. Time and time in his book, he explains his desire to move for greener pastures within the Armed Forces. So whilst true soldiers were trying to see what could possibly be done  in the unfolding circumstances, our “Colonel” was busy thinking of running away from Banjul before “the bridge closed”. So it is not out-of-place to call him the “Fu Nekh Rek” Soldier.

2. He is self-conceited:- throughout his book, the “Colonel” keeps degrading people he has interacted with professionally or otherwise. He tries to portray his colleagues, juniors, superiors, etc. as not deserving of their positions and/or titles. He spared no one, from President Jawara to his Nigerian bosses in the GNA. This is sheer arrogance. When one concludes that everyone else is of inferior mentality except oneself, it becomes absolutely necessary to do a self-assessment to confirm one’s own state of mental health. Even those he praised in some pages of his book, he ended up down-grading them in subsequent pages. It is truly ironical that a man from the then GNA, which, according to “Colonel” Sarr, was considered the only place for the “low-class” and the “not well-to-do” jetsams of the Gambian society could himself forget those humble origins to start scorning others. Under such circumstances, one can excuse the Jawara Government, (the Privilege Class in Sarr’s twisted mind) if they looked low upon the “low-class” GNA soldiers. It appears to me that Samsudeen thinks he exclusively deserves all things good and where he does not have his way, then the process is flawed and unfair. This, in itself, is a sign of self-centeredness.

3. He is an Opportunist: – Samsudeen’s preamble (background to the coup) was not the least generous to the PPP regime especially the leader, President Jawara. He elaborately described how inefficient and corrupt that regime was which eventually led to its demise. Let’s agree, for once, with the “Colonel”, that indeed that regime was ineffectual and corrupt. However, as a matter of principle, one would not have expected the same Samsudeen to want to use the PPP and/or President Jawara to boost his chances in seeking asylum in the US. That means, for our ceremonial “Colonel”, anything goes. Therefore, morality can be selectively applied so long as it serves his purposes, that is to say, a moral about-turn for survival does not really matter. This sort of comportment is what has kept our professor in power and, I am not being pessimistic, but he shall remain in power for as long as we continue to exhibit this chameleon-like comportment.

4. Downright Tribalist: – people with limited education, experience and exposure can sometimes be excused for expressing tribal sentiments. However, when supposedly intellectually-minded individuals like Samsudeen Sarr goes tribal, it is a cause for concern. For me, this brings into question the usefulness of his education, exposure and experience – the 3Es. All over his book, Samsudeen appears like a tribal warlord using the pen (hidden choice of weapon) to advance his tribal agenda whilst lambasting the Mandingos as if they are foreign invaders who forcefully took his much cherished sugarcane off his mouth. Imagine such baseless and untrue statements – Jawara’s National Guards were all Mandingos; English and Mandingo being “official” languages in the State House; Samsudeen being discriminated because of his Wollof origins. I wonder why he ommitted  the supposedly chief tribalist’s (Jawara) wives. Were they also Mandingos? This is very disingenuous of the intellectual that Sam would like to portray himself. Properly educated people fight for the advancement of their societies not their tribes.

Therefore, when one considers all of the above qualities in Samsudeen, one cannot but conclude that what our “Colonel” has done is normal in his world and should therefore not be blamed.

Sadly though, he is not alone in this kind of behaviour. What the “Colonel” has exhibited is a typical Gambian character. Without generalising, I dare say a lot of us Gambians are like the “Colonel”. If given the same assurances and possibly some mouth-watering sweetners like the “Colonel”, we will decamp before one could say Jack Robinson.



Disclaimer: Views expressed in this section are the author's own and do not represent the editorial policy of Kairo News. Kairo News will trash any comment that inflames tribal, racial or religious hatred.

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