All Gambians should and must feel at all times that security of life and property activities performed by the government is for them and not for anyone individual with the inclusion of the outgoing president Lt. Yahya Jammeh. The citizenry must be respected and dignified by the government and the president, void that calls for the implementation of the pledge given by every member of the Arm Forces of the republic of The Gambia (GAF). The country’s constitution being under attack by the sitting president Lt. Yahya Jammeh, members of GAF has a calling to rise up and defend the constitution by refusing the illegal orders of Yahya Jammeh and ensure and facilitate the handing over process to President-elect Adama Barrow when Jammeh’s mandate ends on January 18, 2017.

All members of GAF must remember the pledge one made to the citizens of The Gambia the very first day one enlisted whether as an officer, non-commission officer, or a private. This    pledge is similar in many countries and must be guarded at all cost. The pledge goes:

“I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia against all enemies, foreign, and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the country and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Gambia Arm Forces Act (GAFA).” The orders of the president that all Gambians including you the members of GAF should obey are those of president-elect Adama Barrow. President-elect Adama Barrow is the choice of majority Gambians. All Gambians and the international community should respect the will of the Gambians.

Yahya Jammeh’s refusal of respecting the constitution of the country and her citizenry calls for the need to question what has happened to the pledges, duties, and responsibilities of the members of the Arm Forces. In the event that I have to remind the members of GAF, the pledges include the duties, responsibilities, and the recognition and a display of core values, which are loyalty to the constitution, duty to defend lives and properties of the citizenry, respect all Gambians, personal courage, selfless service, integrity, and honor. Although job responsibilities vary by assignment, the core values apply to every member of the arm forces, regardless of job or rank.

On a final note regarding the reminder, I want to thank all the members of GAF for serving the mother land, The Gambia. Never carry out an illegal order. Never listen or talk to people like Captain Sam Sedeen Sarr because he is not only openly displaying a blatant disregard to the will of the Gambians but also being an open agent of inter-tribal divisions. Sam Sarr is not only committing a crime in my opinion which I am entitled to, against the Gambian people by ignoring their call for a change through a free and fair general election but also in the promotion of false propaganda in an effort to undermine the will of the people. In my books Sam Sedeen Sarr is not only a pathological liar but a ceremonial soldier, a comment I made a while back and I still stand by it.

In conclusion, I personally have high regards on the members of the security forces and we as Gambians hope that you will stand by the Gambian people and defend the constitution.  As a former senior military officer, I urge all members of the Arm Forces especially all military personnel to join the rest of the country and ensure that the will of The Gambian people is constituted. President-elect Adama Barrow is now the choice of the people and any soldier who neglects that will be guilty of a crime and can be charged according to GAFA. My fellow soldiers, you want to make sure that you are conversant with GAFA. I hope Yahya Jammeh reads this piece or told about it along with all the members of GAF. As a soldier you do not want to be carrying out illegal orders especially when carrying out such orders may cost you your life. Yahya Jammeh and some of his so-called generals do not worth dying for under any circumstances. In the event that any soldier feels helpless and outnumbered by the supporters of Yahya Jammeh, one thing one can do is to drop your gun and leave town until President-elect Adama Barrow takes over the reins of the government come January 19, 2017 when you may be pardoned for deserting the army. Remember that it is better to be charged for desertion than dying.

 I hope and pray that Yahya Jammeh will listen to reason and hand over the presidency to president-elect Adama Barrow. I also hope and pray that the members of the arm forces will also participate in the handing over process. Any action short of the smooth transfer of the presidency either from Yahya Jammeh or any group of the security forces will be met with serious repercussions.  The Gambian people along with the support of regional and international community are no match to GAF. On that note, I want to throw the ball back into the court of Yahya Jammeh and his few supporters. Remember do not go to a war that you cannot win. Only a bad commander will lead the troops to fight a war that cannot be won. The Gambian people are bigger and far more powerful than Yahya Jammeh and the members of the securities forces combined. As such, it is wise to be on the side of the people and accept the results of the last election. The Gambian people have spoken and no amount of manipulation or resistance can change that calling. As a former commander, refusing to accept the will of the people and the constitution is not only foolish but an act of committing suicide in my opinion. It is now times to call off your bluffs and hand over the country come January 19, 2017 to President-elect Adama Barrow or face serious consequences.

MAY GOD BLESS THE GAMBIA

BY: Momodou K. Sonko (Rtd).

Gambia National Army

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