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City of Banjul
Friday, February 26, 2021

Letters: It is time to trust our men and women in uniform

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Dear editor,

During our country’s most vulnerable moment, a period that was orchestrated by a reneging, unstable president who claimed to have been robbed of an election he clearly and convincingly lost, we were all exposed to the dangers of a political gridlock that threatened our survival as a country. We had a security apparatus that was not trusted by the public even when they professed neutrality. This mistrust was a culmination of years of simmering tension and awful experiences between civilian population and their security services. So, we desperately sought external help and their response in the form of muscular military posture was quite relieving. We remain grateful of their sacrifice.

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Despite our gratitude to outside intervention, we abhor the humiliating treatment of men and women in uniform, by our own government, through what appears to be a deliberate policy effort to relegate them to desk duties in barracks or, farming activities and peacekeeping missions elsewhere. Our Army is currently under-utilized and grossly under-funded thanks, primarily, to the government’s continued focus on external security elements stationed in the country. Resources that are meant to help boost capacity of our struggling but brave men and women are being diverted to support ECOMIG operations with little or negligible returns. Foreign troops are being catered for at the expense of our brothers and sisters.

Therefore, this extension, which is more of a political and financial consideration way more than it is for security purposes, is both unnecessary and wasteful. It will continue to disadvantage our Armed Forces and may lead to personnel attrition due to low morale, negligence and idleness on account of irresponsibility. It is time to trust our soldiers and officers and give them the opportunity and privilege to serve their country with honor and distinction. It is not the time to discredit or dishonor their service with another ECOMIG mandate disguise as Police Mission (whatever that is).

Zakaria Kemo Konteh

USA

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