Before his unceremonious exit from the presidency of The Gambia, Yahya Jammeh promoted his reinstated his Interior Minister and former coupist Momodou Bah to army, appointed him director of finance of the military and promoted him from a Lieutenant Colonel to a Brigadier General, says Army Chief Lt. Gen. Ousman Bargie.
Jammeh in October appointed Bah as his homeland security secretary after the firing of his longtime ally, Ousman Sonko.
Bah was among ex-army officers who were convicted of attempting to overthrow President Yahya Jammeh’s government in March 2006 and sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Jammeh released him from prison for testifying against former military chief Lt. Gen. Lang Tombong Tamba.
The former ruler had promoted at least 50 other officers just days before he was forced out of the country by regional troops backing the new President Adama Barrow.
The appointments have been questioned but not publicly addressed by President Barrow or his National Security Adviser, Lt. Gen. Sulayman Masanneh Kinteh.
The Gambia’s military is being vetted by regional commanders as part of a reform program initiated by Mr. Barrow.
Jammeh had the backing of the military, especially within the presidential guards. Promotions were based not on merits but on loyalty to the autocratic ruler, who now lives in Equatorial Guinea.
Army Chief Lt. Gen. Bargie said he has no powers to promote senior officers or to have them demoted. Such powers, he says, are with his Commander-in-Chief, at the time, President Yahya Jammeh, who promoted Bah from Lieutenant Colonel to Brigadier General.
It seems to be an issue that only the new Commander-in-Chief, President Adama Barrow, can address.