Defense minister Sheikh Omar Faye believes Gambia’s endless troubles began with the 1994 takeover.
A group of second lieutenants, disenchanted with the status quo then, took up arms to overthrow Sir Dawda Jawara’s 30-year reign.
The military takeover, Gambia’s second coup after the abortive 1981 attempt led by the led Kukoie Samba Sanyang, saw the installation of Yaya Jammeh as chairman, Sana B. Sabally as his deputy.
Jammeh would go onto lead for two decades marred by gross violations having dust off soldiers he launched the junta with.
“July 22nd was a moment when young officers took out to the streets and overthrew the constitutionally elected government of Sir Dawda Jawara. I was in the States at the time. That’s when we ran into trouble,” Faye said.
Now exiled in Equatorial Guinea following his ouster in 2016, Jammeh’s reign was characterised by mass promotion of soldiers as reward for favours offered to him – a thing, Faye moans, has left him inherited a “broken” system.
“The army then misses its functions and that’s why we have inherited a broken system. The army where people are promoted without going through the promotion board. Every rank in the army commensurate with a requisite knowledge of training.
“What we have inherited is a system where the officers wearing ranks when they do not have necessary knowledge of that particular rank. That’s what we are trying to fix,” he tells The View Point.