Gambia’s Army is not taking enlistees, Lt. Col. Lamin Gano said after being challenged to fulfill his promise to volunteer in the military if President Adama Barrow fires his then-Homeland Security Minister Mai Ahmad Fatty.
“I have reached out to the GAF HQ in relations to my Mai Fatty promise and I am told that GAF is a non-conscript and non-volunteering military,” Gano said.
“So it seems like my promise is incompatible with the law the same way in which Barrow’s three-year promise does not tally with the constitution.”
Gano has accused Fatty of abusing his powers. The ex-minister, he said, dragged his feet on approving a license to operate a private security firm.
He had made a pledge to serve voluntarily in the army if Mr. Barrow sacks Fatty. He also warned Barrow to purge his cabinet of politicians or risk failing on his New Gambia promise.
Barrow dismissed Fatty last week but stayed mute on the reasons. Corruption allegations were made against Fatty, finger-pointings he vehemently rejected. Fatty accused his political foes of a distortive campaign to end his career.
Fatty’s GMC party was among the then-opposition groups that backed Barrow’s challenge to ex-President Yahya Jammeh. Barrow had agreed to serve as the leader in a transitional regime for three years.
Barrow is likely to serve a full five-year term but may not seek a second mandate. He faces a likely coalition challenge from the party that Gano is supporting – the GDC party.
Gano was a former senior military aide to ex-President Jammeh. He calls the former ruler his political godfather. His opposition showmanship and closeness to the ex-leader may factor in him not being accepted into the army.
Gambian authorities are purging Jammeh’s loyalists out of the army amid allegations of mutiny against more than two dozen soldiers, who have been arrested and detained since July.
Gano has undergone international military college and combat training and served in peacekeeping tours for the United Nations. He returned to The Gambia from Canada following Jammeh’s election defeat.
Gano has extensive military experience having served more than 20 years in the army, including the elite presidential guard and earning the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, just two ranks shy of becoming a General.