By Makutu Manneh
Major General Yakubu A. Drammeh, Chief of Defence Staff of The Gambia Armed Forces, has warned his officers against deploying or manifesting tribal sentiments, while stressing the dangers associated to it.
“We have seen the outcomes of conflicts and none will emerge as a winner, everybody is going to be a loser. Tribal sentiment is on the rise as you go through the social media, in our individual “bantaba” people propagate and install tribal sentiments,” he said on Wednesday at Officers Mess at Kotu during the decoration ceremony of junior officers.
CDS Drammeh advised the officers to disassociate themselves from tribal issues and instead work collectively as “one Gambia, one people and one nation” to preserve societal cohesion. He said in tribal conflicts, even the perpetrators can fall victims of the conflict, since no one can predict the outcome of the crisis.
CDS Drammeh also called on his officers to cultivate the culture of tolerance, mutual trust and respect between them and the civilian populace, adding “remember we need them more than they need us.”
He said most of the conflicts in Africa are due to tribal sentiments, thus he said it is in their collective best interest as an institution and nation to work towards the maintenance of peace.
Drammeh informed his officers that how good or bad an armed force is, is determined by its officers.
“There are no bad soldiers, there are bad officers,” Drammeh said.
CDS Drammeh further said their security awareness and consciousness would enable them to uncover any behavior that is detrimental to the peace and security of their country. The Major General told the promoted and non-promoted officers that it is their responsibility as individuals and as a team that anything that will pose threats to the peace and security of The Gambia is eing reported on time to devise a faster solution.
He warned his soldiers that they would not hesitate to sack anyone from the armed forces if that individual has the habit of being “disgruntled” to the externt of posing a serious threat to the Armed Forces.
“As a serving member, we are aware that peace and security is a continuous process that must be pursued at all times at any given circumstances,” he said.
CDS Drammeh said in the military, they cannot be divided but rather work as a team which distinguishes them as military. He also said there is need to maintain a harmonious working relationship with members of the armed forces and other security sectors in the country.
Nonetheless, CDS Drammeh saluted and commended the officers for their exceptional sacrifice to national call and duty.
“You made us feel proud and today many countries see it as a case story about how we averted possible catastrophe in this country during the political impasse,” he said.