By Amadou M Jadama
General Masanneh Kinteh, the Chief of Defence Staff of the Gambia Armed Forces has said that the military, wholly and surely, is answerable to civil authority.
CDS Kinteh made these remarks yesterday during the opening of a ten-day training of members of the Gambia Armed Forces at the Joint Officers Mess in Kotu. CDS Kinteh noted that the military in any nation is saddled with the distinctive responsibility of defending and preserving the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the state.
He further disclosed that in peacetime, the main effort of the Army should be education and training to build capacity and improve the capabilities of military personnel in their respective roles.
“Training is an essential ingredient and an indispensable tool in our drive to re-professionalize the Armed Forces and it is for this reason that realistic training meant to build capacity of our troops to efficiently perform their constitutional mandate and other assigned roles in support of national defence policy objectives is given a top priority under my administration,” he said.
Turning to the security of the nation, CDS Kinteh called on Gambians to safeguard the peace and stability of the country, adding it is impossible to develop without stability.
“As we all are aware, no nation can develop fully without security, essentially, therefore, it is the responsibility of each and everyone of us to jealously guard the peace and stability that the Gambia is known for,” Kinteh said.
He said the officers’ study period is one of its kind amongst other training activities organized to develop intellectual and professional competencies of members of the Gambia Armed Forces.
For her part, Madam Fatoumata Jallow Tambajang, Minister of Women’s Affairs and over seer of the Office of the Vice President, said: “The holding of this ceremony is equally important as it will add value to the course and manifest the importance the Government places on the professional development of its gallant Armed Forces.
“My Government values its citizens in uniform and very much clear with the belief that, the future and lasting security of our beloved country lie in the hands of no other forces other than her own sons and daughters.
Madam Tambanjang went further to say that the primary responsibility of the Armed Forces in the Constitution is to protect the territorial integrity of the country by protecting it against external aggression.
“This training is an impetus for government to place the Army amongst its priorities. This Government is rational in its treatment of all its departments. Therefore, an Institution viewed as having a good sense of direction will be given priority. An Institution cannot develop in the absence of having the right caliber of Officers to steer its progress,” Madam Tambanjang added.
She said the government “proud of the army and will continue to stand by them at all times in the execution of their Constitutional roles.”