By Amadou Jadama
As he wrapped up his nationwide tour of military installations in the country, the chief of defence staff of the Gambia Armed Forces, Lt General Yakuba Drammeh, told soldiers that their loyalty to the state and the president should be “unquestionable”.
CDS Drammeh told soldiers from the State Guards and the Joint Service Headquarters yesterday that in the exercise of their duties, they should ensure that their loyalty to the state and the president is unquestionable.
He exhorted: “You cannot give half and half; you will have to give it all. Your loyalty to the state, the president who is commander in-chief and the Gambian people, and of course your loyalty to the institution you represent which is the State Guards must not be questionable,” he underlined.
He postulated: “That is why you were chosen in the forces to serve in this fine institution, as not everybody should serve at State Guards. You may recall that before the final selection was done, you went through a series of scrutinies, and that denotes the importance we attached to the people serving at the State Guards. Your loyalty cannot be questioned.
“We salvaged the country. That was made possible because we remained united and resolute in our determination to preserve the peace and tranquility of this country. Today we are being challenged. Given the political climate, we cannot afford to allow any crisis in this country. And we are the custodians of the constitution. That implies that we have to work towards the maintenance of peace and security of this country. That is the oath we took.
“If we take the right decisions we are going into the good books of history. On the other hand, if we take the wrong decisions we are going into the bad books of history, and I want to believe that each and every one of you wants to leave a good legacy.
“You may recall that during the political impasse, we were there to take decisions that would be considered critical to the existence of this country. We spent two months at the headquarters. The peace and security of this country was threatened because of the political impasse, and people tried all they could to bring division within the military either through political or tribal inclination.
“I for one stood firmly to say that the armed forces cannot afford to be divided, and the records are there. If we allowed the armed forces to be divided, either on tribal lines or political lines that would have been a recipe for disaster in this country. This country would have descended into a civil war.
“I never allowed senior members of the armed forces to be crippled with sentiments and emotions that would perhaps influence whatever actions or decisions they are going to take,” CDS Drammeh asserted.