Lt. Gen. Ansumana Tamba (in red) stands behind former President Yahya Jammeh as his ADC at the time.

Gambia’s looming security threats

Recent return to the country, of two long-time Jammeh loyalists whose names and faces represented the dreadful terror unleashed on Gambian people at the behest of a soulless creature, without their immediate arrest and questioning, much less a flag being raised, exposes a major weakness in our national security architecture, which must be rebuilt without delay and the faith of citizens restored.

What happened was an indictment of your leadership and goes further to lend credence to a swell of seething criticism of your government for its seeming lack of cleared-eyes and apparent detachment from the pulse of the nation.

Citizens are concern about the state of security of the country. We are all worried. Last two months have seen some ugly disturbances to peace. And this latest security failure, following in on the heels of the total breakdown of political and social order in Mangkamang Kunda and Busumbala, raises serious questions about the perennial culture of complacency and incompetence within the national intelligence circle, military intel, CID, and even our immigration department.

Who are the people manning sensitive ports of entry of the country? Why don’t we have the names and pictures of all those who accompanied Jammeh to Equatorial Guinea at every entry points of the country? In every police station, at every military barracks, in our criminal database. These Jammeh loyalists are intelligence assets and potential national security threats.

Take note: Yahya Jammeh is still determined to reclaim all the ill-gotten wealth he stole from Gambians, even if that means rendering the country ungovernable. It’s about the economics of wealth and power. His presence is palpable.

He is not physically in the country, but his long evil hands are visible everywhere by the show of agency. Remember, one of his futile demands from Ecowas leaders days before his banishment was the security of his assets in-country.

Seeing hundreds of assets and bank accounts frozen, pending recommendations from the Janneh Commission, must be unsettling for him. This alone could give him cause for vengeance. He reminds me of Euron Greyjoy in the Game of Thrones – horrible for heinous acts and thirsty for power. But also calculating and decisive. APRC party still salivate at the possible return of their Euron Greyjoy.

Ansumana Tamba and Umpa Mendy, like the rest of the members of Jammeh’s inner cabal, subverted the supreme laws of the land and defiled the most sacred process in our democracy – free and fair election – in 2016. These men were up in arms ready to execute Jammeh’s orders that would have washed our land with Gambian blood.

Hundreds of thousands would have been stateless refugees in foreign lands by now. Women and children would have suffered most from the indignity of their treachery against the Republic. The old and the feeble and the sick would have been stranded and worse, left for slow painful death, either from starvation, or inglorious destitution.

The Gambian atmosphere would have been occupied by the stench of death. But all these gory imageries were averted in the last hour, thanks to the courage of Ecowas leaders and the movement of determined citizens who stood ready to wrestled their country from the blood-drenched claws of an unstable tyrant.

After all the hell and inhumanity we endured under Jammeh and the APRC party for 22 years, we are being forced to worry about the security of the country and personal safety. The ramifications of this colossal breach of security are far-reaching.

And the time for a major shake-up is now. You are the president and commander-in-chief. You have a sacred duty to make every Gambian – home or abroad – feel safe in and around the country. That must be your topmost priority. Demand answers from your interior minister and the security chiefs; demand their resignations if found wanting; demand more.

The rank-and-file who implement national security policy and strategy must also be held to account. Besides, you have every tool in the Gambian Constitution to right the ship. You still have the chance to deliver for the Gambian people as eloquently obtained in your oath of office. Be smart with your presidential power, but more importantly, be effective in its use. Leave not a scintilla of doubt on anyone’s mind.

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