Aug 26, 2009, 6:39 AM
He said The Gambia is no longer an obscure small nation that no one knows about and he welcomed the idea of accommodating all soldiers in barracks with strong emphasis that the conditions attached to these must be observed.
President Jammeh made these statements on Monday while he was decorating the Chief of Defence Staff of the Gambia Armed Forces (GAF), Ousman Badjie, from Major General to Lieutenant General, and the State Guard Commander Lamin S. Sanneh from Major to a colonel.
The ceremony also witnessed the swearing-in ceremony of Major General Saikou Seckan as new Deputy Chief of Defence Staff. Shortly after the decoration of CDS Badjie and Colonel Sanneh they were also sworn in.
“What we want is the highly motivated professional army, an army that anybody can be proud of. We don’t want an army when they meet outside The Gambia they will be looked down upon. We are an army that can raise the Gambian flag into space,” Gambian leader told soldiers.
The Gambian leader said since 1994 and even during graduation ceremonies he does talk about discipline, regimentation and chain of command, saying there is no way there can be high standard of discipline in the armed forces as long as the soldiers are not put in one place since regimentation cannot only be official working hours.
“As soldiers you are on duty 24/7; that is what we know of a proper army but the challenges are many and we understand it, but I want you to compare the official commencement of the army which is 1984 to 1994. The situation of the camp and the condition of the service between 1994 and 2004, I think, there is no way you can compare the two periods,” the Gambian leader stated.
President Jammeh said the army has to be the army, a soldier must be a soldier; there is no neutral position, adding that “you either be a professional soldier or you are a menace to the society”.
“An indiscipline armed forces is a threat to national development, is a threat to the security of the country and a threat to the freedom of the citizenry because you are here for only one reason; that is, to defend the sovereignty of this country but more importantly also to protect life and property of everybody that lives in this country.Without discipline you cannot do that,” Jammeh told members of the armed forces.
President Jammeh said he could not see how an indiscipline soldier can be considered a loyal soldier because, “the fact that you are indiscipline, if you violate the rules of the service that you are supposed to uphold to the letter and you are violating the laws of The Gambia that you are supposed to defend and so you become more dangerous because you are armed.”
He said further: “As Commander-In-Chief of the Gambia Armed Forces, I wouldn’t condone indiscipline in the Army. Many a time on my way either to Kanilai or anywhere in the country I see indiscipline soldiers walking on the street dressed half.
“Whether a soldier is staying in the camp or outside the camp he or she must be disciplined, staying outside the camp is not a reason to be indiscipline and we are doing our best to make sure that the entire soldier is accommodated because that is what international standard calls for.”
Dr Aja Isatou Njie-Saidy, vice president and minister of Women’s Affairs, reminded soldiers to reflect their minds on some of the development and transformation taken place or underway at GAF under the leadership and administration of President Jammeh.
VP Njie-Saidy thanked President Jammeh for providing countless opportunities to all Gambians, not just the security service and also for providing the enabling environment for us to work together as a nation.
“President Jammeh’s style of administration shows his commitment, loyalty and dedication, to the welfare of its citizenry, said Vice President Njie-Saidy.
Other speakers at the ceremony were the deputy CDS, Major General Saikou Seckan, Minister of Interior Ousman Sonko, Attorney General and Minister of Justice Lamin Jobarteh, Minister of Health and Social Welfare Balla Garba Jahumpa and deputy permanent secretary of Defence Abdoulie Kah.
CDS Lieutenant General Ousman Badjie of GAF thanked President Jammeh for the trust and confidence bestowed on him. He assured the President that he will live up to expectations.
General Badjie highlighted some plans of GAF which include accommodation of all soldiers in the barracks, through which discipline and professionalism can be inculcated in the military.
“I promise to continue to work with the same sense of commitment and hard work that has earned me this high profile promotion to transform GAF into a highly professional, respected and competent force,” CDS Badjie said.