By Samsudeen Sarr
Dear Honorable Minister, Shiekh Omar Faye,
After listening to your interview with journalist Mr. Omar Wally of the Fatu Network on March 20, 2020, I did suggest in my article published on the Freedom Newspaper that Gambians could now dispel all conjectures attributed to the missing official reason for removing Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) General Masaneh Kinteh and settle for the one you revealed until government tells us otherwise.
That you made it categorically clear that it had to do more or less with the General finishing his mandate according to the official term limit of the appointment. Anyway after taking my time to watch the video again at my breakfast table this morning something in me, call it instinct if you wish, alerted me on certain grey areas in your account, impelling me to write to you for more details. Obviously like most of the follow up questions in the interview, the way you answered this one in particular left no doubt in my mind that it was a prearranged interview giving you every latitude to adequately prepare yourself. If not, I will be damned if you didn’t expect that questions from Mr. Wally following the myriad of presumptions from intrigued Gambians desiring to know why the CDS was removed without a reason.
Nevertheless, at the end of watching the whole interview I thought I should be honest in letting you know the kind of lousy job you did. You see, your ill-preparedness before the session, despite your false belief that you adequately did, exposed a lot of your unconscious demeanor often noticeable by psychologist and lie-detectors to discredit falsified testimonies. I am not a psychologist but I am currently hanging around kids very familiar with the discipline who could see through your transparency, regardless of the pretense.
Because of your inconsistencies and insincerity throughout the interview Honorable Minister, I would expect a quick-witted person like you to by now acknowledge how you ended up causing more doubt in trying to give us a good reason for removing CDS Kinteh from office than convincing the skeptics. Going by the content of the first official letter published, the conventional wisdom still remains the same that Gen. Kinteh was actually fired and not ceremoniously retired into redeployment. That is what initially prompted all hypothesis about why the sacking.
I guess you must have read or heard them from somewhere including the one accusing you of poisoning the mind of the president about the suspicious loyalty of the general. In fact, Mayu Asku, aka Pa Njie showing in his Facebook profile page that he is currently living in Atlanta Georgia but has been hiding somewhere in Banjul condemning everything I write, in his furious reaction to my quotation of that conjecture he misunderstand and thought it originated from me literally said this: That the dismissal of General Kinteh had nothing to do with my “lies” but everything to do with his pomposity as CDS making him very unpopular and menacingly disrupting traffic everyday in siren-escorted motorcades. I don’t know how he took your account.
In the publicly shared dismissal letter giving no reason however, pessimists are now demanding the publication of the letter stating his actual redeployment as Gambia’s ambassador to China.
With that letter, I see no reason why it shouldn’t carry the reference clause from the Gambia Armed Forces (GAF) Terms and Conditions of Service (TACOS) citing the term limit for a CDS you talked about. I said somewhere that nothing like CDS term limit exited before President Barrow was elected into office. So discounting the period he served as CDS under President Jammeh, General Kinteh took the job in 2017, three years ago. That means we can rely on your statement that General Yankuba Drammeh will pack up and leave in 2023 for General Mamat Cham to takeover. For not coming with the GAF TACOS equal in volume to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) document you brought along to support your arguments seems deliberate and a possible gambit to avoid being cornered. Mr. Wally may not know about TACOS but we do.
Notwithstanding, armed with that MoU between Senegal and the Gambia prepared and signed at the “2020 Presidential Council” meeting held ion Dakar, you still didn’t do very well in your deceptive justification of the illegal incursion of armed Senegalese security personnel into a Gambian village where they terrorized the villagers, shooting and badly injuring one of them before abducting him back to Senegal. You made a reprehensible attempt of legalizing that international crime from a dubious “hot pursuit” pact finalized at the Dakar meeting. For a while you sounded typically like the Omar Faye we all used to know at the GNA, brilliant in words, until Mr. Wally challenged you on the rationale behind the violent cross-border pursuit, preventable if the Senegalese authorities had first tried alerting their Gambian counterparts about the suspect residing in the village before the banditry; hey, how moronic do you think we are to swallow your “hot pursuit” treaty excuse when we all know that the criminal shooting and arresting of the villager preceded the Dakar-crafted MoU? That’s what I was alluding to about that unconscious transparency in your game of deception. Was the treaty legislated before the Dakar meeting and incorporated in the new MoU? If yes, I need the venue, date legislators and certainly the book containing the records.
I hope you have by now familiarized yourself with the case report to give us a good reason why the Senegalese shot the unarmed victim and the kind of savage he was to warrant such anarchy. You looked and sounded very guilty when that question was asked, knowing fully well that no matter how you tried to dice and slice it the action was a court martial offense in the British military law we know. Asking what would have happened if the Gambians had done the same, my answer to that is simply to arrest the officer in charge and have him punished for his recklessness.
Your attempt to make us believe that you were not yet fully familiar with the case report but still wanted us to have trust in the Dakar white paper on a nonsensical “hot pursuit” agreement, left me wondering what your were smoking.
Furthermore Honorable, the extreme manner you lionized President Barrow for his international achievements that from your judgement superseded all attainments of Sir Dawda Jawara and Yahya Jammeh in their combined 51 years in office, left me nostalgic about the good old days of 2015, when we used to conduct conference calls between Washington DC, New York City and Atlanta Georgia, spending hours on Radio-One with APRC loyalists-Mr. Gibril Fadia, Mr. Malick Mbye and Mr. Batch Jallow-talking about nothing but the great accomplishments of President Jammeh. Don’t tell me that you already forgot how emotional you used to sound when showering praises on Jammeh for his unsurpassable achievement far exceeding that of Sir Dawda Jawara’s, accentuating his provision of US1million dollars for you to purchase the first Gambia Embassy office in Washington DC owned by the Gambia. That since gaining our independence in 1965, the Gambia had always rented a building, but thanks to Jammeh and the trust he had had in you that we now own our own building. Verses from the Quran you used to recite as prayers for his health and resilience to be Gambia’s eternal president cannot be overstated.
Not for once did you ever mention a need for the Gambia to be merged with Senegal, let alone surrendering our sovereignty to them. President Jammeh was then greater than Barrack Obama, Francois Hollande and David Cameron combined.
Now you want us to believe that by playing a principal role in deceiving the Gambians and supporting the Coalition Party that ceded our sovereignty to Senegal entitles you to be peddling the garbage that Barrow is greater than Jawara and Jammeh who hadn’t under every imaginable pressure capitulated. Seriously Omar?
No matter how you may want to trivialize their achievements, I think the overwhelming majority of Gambians will prefer to be a master of their own political destiny under Jawara and Jammeh than having a celebrated leader who will only ask how high if Senegal instructed him to jump.
Saying in that interview that we can’t do much politically and economically without Senegal because of how they surround us geographically illustrated a defeatist tendency vanishing all my confidence in you and your performance as Gambia’s defense minister into thin air.
Regardless of the relentless coercion exerted by the Senegalese leaders you named, Leopold Sedar Senghore, Abdou Joof, Abdoulie Wade and Mackey Sall on Jawara and Jammeh from 1989 to 2017, to make them yield, they always stood firm on their ground allowing no nonsense. You think Jawara and Jammeh would have sought clearance from Mackey Sall in the midst of this deadly Coronavirus pandemic to close or open our borders?
But like I always say, in 2017, they got their final breakthrough in Gambia’s most unpatriotic and dishonorable judases among whom you were a ringleader. No amount of sweet talk will exonerate you from that despicable conspiracy that I can assure you will sabotage all your legacy in our nation’s chronicle.
Your attempt to throw your fellow ministers and senior officials under the bus who were at the Dakar meeting by naming them to be part of the overall conspiracy was a low blow. We know who you all were and who will face the next TRRC after regaining our lost independence.
Please allow me to conclude by asking how you can reconcile the contradiction of applauding the competence of the GAF on one hand as being second to none globally and on the other hand trivializing their efficiency in favor of the useless foreign forces in the Gambia rendering them irrelevant and deplorable every blessed day?
In your capacity as defense minister I believe this is the moment you could have advised Barrow to appreciate the usefulness of our troops and try them in the frontline of this battle against the pandemic. All affected countries worldwide including Senegal are using their national armies in this war against an invisible enemy. The ECOMIG forces being paid 700 million Dalasis per annum should go home and help their infected people.
The money for guns and bullets purchased to kill Gambians if they “misbehave” can better be spent on purchasing Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), needed testing kits, sanitizers, ventilators, decontaminators that are the real bullets and guns to fight this new war.
I saw Commander In Chief Barrow on video excited about christening the All People’s Party (APP) very soon in a ceremony expected to be well spiced up with Jumbo, salt and other ingredients. Watching the video left me confused over whether to cry or laugh. We need every resources in this combat and not to waste any in political gatherings. President Jammeh’s assets were sold for millions and I guess the money is still stashed in some bank which if needed should be invested in the war.
Playing semantics on who should be the right general, a company commander, platoon commander, laced with military jargons on how company battle drills or annual personal weapons tests are conducted just to tell us to wait for another year for the unattainable Security Sector Reform to succeed is all baloney.
It will be a shame if in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic France currently stretched economically to a near breaking point decides to defund the maintenance of ECOMIG in the country, forcing them to leave. Trust me, it is possible Honorable. How will you then go back to our soldiers and say “ yenafi-sess”? That’s what my gut feeling is telling me would soon happen.
And please don’t forget about the villager’s shooting case report, the section in TACOS on term limit for CDS appointments and the letter redeploying General Masaneh Kinteh to China. I will love to see them published on the online North Carolina-based Freedom Newspaper.
If they fire Gen. Yankuba Drammeh before 2023 and replace him with General Masaneh Kinteh as still speculated, then expect another outrageous open letter from me for lying to us.