It is very rare for an army officer to resign in The Gambia—given the backlash that will follow after such an honorable decision, but Captain Simon Peters of The Gambia Navy, has done so, the Freedom Newspaper can reveal. Mr. Peters resigned from the service after the honorable completion of the years he signed for when he joined the army. But his bosses at the GAF tried to talk him to rescind his resignation, but he refused. Mr. Peters felt that it was time for him to move on and pursue a new career outside the military.
Mr. Peters was told by his bosses that by him resigning from the army might send a negative signal to his Commander-in-Chief Yahya Jammeh. That, he should stay on and work. But Peters said he has all rights to end his career with the army, while invoking the army manual, which states that officers and non- commissioned officers can quit the force at their own accord after successfully completing the years the individual has signed with the army.
Mr. Peters was left with two options: To continue to serve a force he longer “wanna serve” or quit and leave the country. Peters elected the latter. Mr. Peters fled the West African nation shortly after he handed his resignation letter to his immediate Commander at The Gambia Navy. He left his wife, and children behind.
Mr. Simon Peters now lives in the United States. Mr. Peters, tells Freedom Radio Gambia, in an interview that he resigned from the army for principled reasons. He could no longer condone the injustices and dictatorship in the country under the leadership of Africa’s most deranged and delusional dictator Yahya Jammeh.
Mr. Peters talked about lack of regimentation in the army. Soldiers who are on Jammeh’s direct command insubordinate their superiors. He also said officers are often arrested and slammed with bogus charges of coup.
In the army, he said, there is growing fear and mistrust among officers. He blamed The Gambian dictator for the divisiveness in the army. He branded Jammeh as a very divisive and fake character, who prey on the intelligence of the citizenry.
Mr. Peters, who is a native of Kombo Brufut, has called on his colleagues in the army to operate within the dictates of their mission statement. He said the military should protect the citizens and non citizens alike and not to oppress them. He said the army should not accept illegal orders emanating from the dictator.
Mr. Peters is a Nurse by profession. He studied nursing. He was enlisted into the army as a State Registered Nurse (RN). After finishing his army basic training, he was attached to the army Medic Unit. He works at that unit for some time, before he was commissioned and transferred to the army training school as an Instructor. He trains army recruits.
Peters was later transferred to The Gambia Navy, a unit he felt was completely new to him. He was commissioned to the rank of a Captain at the time. Peters had received maritime training during his stint at the Navy. He was trained in North Carolina and elsewhere around the US.
Mr. Peters has been quiet since his arrival in the United States. He started speaking out on social media, when Yahya Jammeh made a declaration that The Gambia is an Islamic State. Mr. Peters felt that Jammeh’s pronouncement was discriminatory to the country’s Christian faith. The Gambia is a secular nation, and for Jammeh to decree an Islamic State was ridiculous to him.
Mr. Peters doesn’t believe that elections can remove the dictator from power. But he, is of the view that The Gambian Christian Community will not vote for Jammeh in the coming polls. He said many Christians in The Gambia, do not believe that their safety, and religious freedom would be guaranteed under Jammeh’s rule. That’s why they will vote against Jammeh, he said.
Mr. Peters also used the interview to call on The Gambian Church not to accept “dirty money” from dictator Jammeh. Peters invoked the Holy Bible to back up his statement. He said Jammeh dished out an unspecified amount of money to some Christian leaders, after his announcement that The Gambia is an Islamic State. For Peters, any Christian leader, who is worthy of his, or her salt should not accept dirty money from a corrupt dictator like Yahya Jammeh.
Peters is a Catholic. Growing up, he wanted to become a Priest. He even studied seminary in Ghana, before sojourning into the military. Peters said Jammeh has been using religion to divide The Gambia. He is calling on Gambians to come together and usher a democratic government free of religious bigotry, hate, injustice and dictatorship.
Written By Pa Nderry M’Bai