To start with, we want to point out that the rejoinder that was issued by The Gambia Armed Forces (GAF) command entitled: “ REJOINDER ON THE FREEDOM ONLINE STORY ALLEGING THE TARGETING OF JOLA OFFICERS – THE APOLITICAL STANCE OF THE GAMBIA ARMED FORCES IN PERSPECTIVE,” lacks merit, devoid of the truth and totally misleading. There was nowhere in our reportage in which tribal bigotry was inferred or implied. What we reported was the truth and nothing but the truth. The officers who were mentioned in the purported MI report, were all Jollas. There was no other officer mentioned besides Jollas. So, we will call it as it is. Straight up!
Regarding the usage of the word, the accused officers “confronting” CDS Drammeh, the GAF command is being petty and dishonest by deliberately misrepresenting the real meaning of that word. The command has decided to assign a negative connotation to the word “confront.”
What we reported was clear, and precised, even a kindergarten would be able to comprehend the connotation associated with that word. For clarity purposes, what we meant was that the accused officers had confronted the CDS for clarification on the accusation contained in that purported MI report.
Since CSD Drammeh isn’t denying the meeting that he had with the accused officers, it is imperative to note that his Military Intelligence Director Musa Trawally, has denied having any knowledge of the said meeting. Trawally, in a message sent to his Intel subordinates, has urged them to disregard the Freedom Newspaper publication, branding it as unfounded stories. He said, “no such meetings ever took place at the CDS office.”
Trawally’s statement that was contained in a Whatsapp forum that he had created for his men, is diametrically opposed to CDS Drammeh’s statement of the meeting that he said he had with his deputy Mamat Cham and the accused officers: Colonel Alhagie Sanneh, Colonel Essa Tamba and co.
It appears that there is a disconnect between the CDS and his Intel Director. The CDS is hiding from his subordinates.
Trawally ran to social media to dismiss the existence of any meeting that CDS Drammeh had with Sanneh and co. Little did he knew that the CDS was playing on both sides.
The same CDS Drammeh told Colonel Sanneh and co that he doesn’t know anything about the purported MI report, accusing his officers of coup plot. He even advised them to “go about their business” and disregard the report as fake. How did the CDS knew that the report was fake? Did he investigate it to verify its veracity? Was the State Intelligence Services (SIS) invited to witness his meeting with the accused officers? Did he forward the report to the police for a possible investigation to be constituted? Why was the MI Director Musa Trawally not invited at the meeting that the CDS had with Colonel Sanneh and co?
Going by the 1997 constitution, failing to report a treason, is a punishable offense. CDS Drammeh was in fact arrested back in March of 2006, accused of concealing treason. He was tortured and demoted to the rank of a non-commissioned officer.
The accusations were said to be false, but unfortunately he suffered the brunt of Jammeh’s power excesses. Drammeh should have learnt from his past ordeal and commence a proper investigation on the allegations contained in that purported MI report.
Colonel Sanneh and co have done the right thing by reporting the alleged treason information that they gathered that the CDS in his rebuttal painted the officers as being allegedly “adversely” mentioned. Drammeh had never bothered to call his Intel Chief Colonel Musa Trawally to verify the alleged “adverse” mentioning of his accused officers in that report. He just blindly labelled them as “adversely” mentioned without verifying the truthfulness of thatreport. Absurd, right? Miscarriage of justice!
On the command’s claim that the purported MI report doesn’t have a letterhead, in our view, that was a weak argument. It is a coverup and also an attempt to play with the intelligence of The Gambian civilian population.
Credible and authoritative GAF sources have told us that “there is nothing new for the military intelligence to issue an Intel report that doesn’t contain a GAF letter head.” It is a common practice at GAF for MI reports to be issued with a letterhead.
The rejoinder we received from you today did not contain any letterhead. Therefore, your argument lacks merit.
The CDS can fool some people, but he cannot fool the Freedom Newspaper. We are highly informed, and our sources are unimpeachable.
Regarding the Whatsapp audio that you mentioned in your rejoinder, we want to point out that the audio in question, was issued by one Sana Jarju, a strong supporter of the main opposition United Democratic party. Like the purported MI report, Jarju has also accused the aforementioned Jolla officers of plotting to overthrow the Barrow government. He also alleged the Jolla officers of being part of the APRC splinter group, that is opposing the APRC/NPP political alliance.
Sana Jarju’s accusations against the accused officers has collaborated the purported MI report.
The army should remain apolitical and avoid relying on distorted intelligence that could malign the reputation of its fine officers.
On the CDS’ statement that the days of arresting officers because of concocted false information is over, is left to be desired. It is questionable.
It would be recalled that when the change of government happened back in 2016, some officers mainly Jolla officers were prematurely retired from the force. The retirement stemmed from an alleged MI report, accusing them of having ties with Jammeh. They were also accused of not being loyal to the Barrow government. The purging happened during Masaneh Kinteh’s watch as CDS.
We condemn tribalism in any form. Tribalism has teared nations apart.
Genuine national reconciliation cannot be achieved in the absence of eradicating tribal supremacy and marginalization. Appointments and promotions should not be done on the basis of one’s tribe, creed or color.
The GAF rejoinder that was sent by Captain Malick Sanyang doesn’t bear the name or signature of CDS Yankuba Drammeh. No one has signed off on that rejoinder. The document can only pass credibility test or be taken with seriousness if it is signed by an official of GAF. Please sign your documents next time.
Finally, it is disingenuous on the part of the command to embellish our reportage on the GAF officers saga. The rejoinder was nothing but a coverup. Be truthful to Gambians and stop trafficking fake information. We rest our case!
Written by Pa Nderry M’Bai
Email: [email protected]