Chief of Defence Staff, General Masanneh Kinteh yesterday said there is no secrecy or mystery in the work of the military, only that some aspects of its work require confidentiality especially when it borders on the security of the nation.
Speaking during a meeting with media chiefs, editors and senior journalists at the Gambia Press Union’s office, when arrived on courtesy call, Kinteh said his visit is part of the new wind of reforms currently embarked upon by the army which include changing the perspective of the public including media about the army.
“When Gambians went to the polls in December they elected a new president and embrace a new democratic dispensation and since the role of the military is key in a democracy, it is vital that the army, like all other important other institutions, adjust itself to the new realities. For a start we have recognized and would always emphasize that the military is subject to civilian authority whose mandate is to defend the territorial integrity of the state and its sovereignty,” Kinteh said.
The CDS also said in all these efforts the role of the media is important hence the need to let the media understand the work of the army because the two need to work harmoniously in the desire to maintain stability and peace in the country.
“We have every will and desire to ensure that everyone’s right is protected and respected under the constitution and this should be a core principle. We have recognised and noticed that the work of the media to have some effect in the overall maintenance of stability in nation. You will agree with me that there have been cases of the media inciting or worsening conflicts in several other countries,” he observed.
In response, the GPU president Emil Touray, welcomed the CDS and the delegation, expressing delight that for the first time, the army chief has visited the media.
“This is a landmark development and great departure from the past and therefore a commendable initiative,” Tourau said.
He assured the CDS that the Gambian media has shared a similar desire to discharge roles professionally in line with the new democratic culture. Other speakers included veteran journalists Pap Saine of The Point, Sam Sarr of Foroyaa and Lamin Cham of The Standard.