By Nelson Manneh
Following their promotions earlier in 2020, President Adama Barrow in a solemn ceremony on Saturday 13th February 2021, decorated four officers to the ranks of Lieutenant General, Major General and Brigadier General, respectively.
The Officers; Chief of Defence Staff Yankuba Drammeh, Deputy Chief of Defense Staff Mamat Cham, Commander of the Republican National Guard, Turo Jawneh, and Commander Gambia National Army Ousman Gomez, constitute the apex decision-making body responsible for the daily operations of The Gambia Armed Forces (GAF).
In his statement as the Commander in Chief of Armed Forces, President Barrow said the promotions of the officers are based on merit and are the result of dedication to duty, exemplary leadership qualities, loyalty and trust earned by the decorated officers.
“As trusted Officers, it’s incumbent upon you and all those under your command to continue to respond to the security needs and aspirations of The Gambian people. This calls for acquainting yourselves with Security Sector Reform program, guided by the National Security Policy and National Security Strategy, 2020-2024,” he noted.
Sheikh Omar Faye, the Minister of Defence, urged the decorated officers to deliver to the expectations of Gambian people, adding that the decoration signifies that Security Sector Reform (SSR) has taken new steps and would soon be delivered to Gambians.
The Chief of Defence Staff Lt General Yankuba Drammeh, delivering the vote of thanks commended the President for approving their promotions, and several other promotions in the GAF from 2017 to date.
While applauding the President for prioritizing the creation of professional armed forces devoid of politics and tribal sentiments, the CDS assured that they would continue to strive hard to meet his expectations.
The oaths were administered by the Deputy Secretary-General and Head of the Civil Service, Salimatou Touray.
In a separate but related engagement, President Barrow presided over a symbolic handover of the car keys to the CDS, following the procurement of 28 soft skin vehicles earmarked for possible GAF deployment to one of the UN missions. This is in part a fulfillment of one of the UN’s tables of equipment required for the deployment of a Quick Reaction Force company.