Gambia's brightest young soldiers, who recently joined the Gambia Armed Forces (GAF) are demanding that Cheif of Defence Staff (CDS) Major General Yakuba Drammeh and his deputy, Brigadier General Mamat O. Cham lift their hold on their promotion to Cadet.
One of the young soldiers claimed their promotion was blocked for unknown reasons, despite appearing before the Cadet Selection Board (CSB).
"It's an established norm in GAF that any serving member of GAF that bagged a degree from a recognized university and met all the other requirements will have an automatic opportunity to be elevated to an officer. Of recent, at some point, this practice was put to a halt and until today, the faith of university graduates is put into shambles," he said.
The young soldier, who begged for anonymity, disclosed: "On November 10, GAF released a public notice inviting degree holders to join the army. Upon seeing this public notice, a good number of us at the University of The Gambia (UTG), particularly the graduates, were very much optimistic that we would be finally promoted. But unfortunately, we discovered that the cadet selection is specifically for civilians."
He argued: "I don't know the reason behind the decision to recruit civilians for cadet positions. But to be honest, it makes no sense when you already have experienced soldiers with more than 5 years of experience to promote."
The young soldier appealed to Commander-in-Chief Adama Barrow to end the cronyism/nepotism in the army.
"Our marginalization by the top brass is engendering a growing discontent within us. Therefore, there is an urgent need for the relevant authorities to take a step to address this matter amicably since there is no grievance mechanism in GAF for us."