By Simon Sabally
- The leaked memo from the GAF conveying the request of the Former CDS, Massaneh Kinteh, about the retention of nine soldiers and two vehicles was morally wrong but certainly not illegal on the following basis:
1. It was a request to the current CDS and not an order he made.
2. He was the CDS and had retired from that position. Thus, it was imperative that he is provided with security if he so requests.
3. His request for the nine security officers and two vehicles are time bound, that is until his redeployment in the foreign service.
Morally, he should not have asked for the four specific and identified officers and vehicles in his request. He should have simply requested for AN ORERLY and A DRIVER and minimal number of guards. His request for two utility vehicles is unconscionable but not illegal as it was a request.
What the request showed is the absence of any regulations on the entitlement and benefits of retired senior military officers, for example, CDS. Section 189(2)(c) of the 1997 Constitution mandates the Armed Forces Council to “make regulations” on various matters including “the conditions of service, enrolment pay, pensions, gratuities and other allowances of officers and men, and deductions therefrom”(see s.189(3)(c)). With a regulation on the retirement and post service entitlements of a general of the Gambia Armed Forces, Massaneh Kinteh would not have made the outrageous request.
The Gambia Armed Forces should get to work to promulgate on the issues that would make both the serving and retired men and officers safe and motivated. A retired CDS of a country is certainly a person with classified and salient information of the country and the Forces. His or her security must be safeguarded.