Gambian president, Yahya Jammeh, is once again on the offensive against homosexuality, describing the practice as an act of 'indecency' which has no place in the country's military.
‘‘We will not encourage lesbianism and homosexuality. It is a taboo in our armed forces.”
But this is not the first time Jammeh has shown revulsion for gays and lesbians, and certainly not only in the army. The largely homophobic president who seems to enjoy basking in interminable trend of controversies recently ordered all people with sexual orientation to persons of the same sex to leave the country, or risk death.
"The Gambia is a country of believers...sinful and immoral practices as homosexuality will not be tolerated in this country," he said in May 2008. And as usual, he came under wide condemnation then.
President Jammeh made his latest outburst as he preached ‘Indiscipline’ in the military, as part a decoration ceremony for newly promoted army officials, including the country’s newly appointed military chief and his deputy who was just demoted to private and sacked, only to be reinstated a day or so after and promoted to a higher rank. That has been the trend in the country’s largely traumatized military core of late.
He said that indiscipline in the army will not be tolerated. “Discipline in the army cannot be compromised. We have seen a drastic drop in discipline in the army which is unacceptable. If you wear a uniform, you must be exemplary in discipline,” the president stated.
An undisciplined army, he added, is equal to a band of robbers and thus “dangerous to the nation. From the general down to recruits, I am not going to tolerate indiscipline.”
In his characteristic posture, the Gambian leader, notorious for his uncompromisingly strong feeling of hostility for the country’s colonial power, Britain, said he has achieved so much in 15 years for the Gambian army what the British could not in 400 years. He pointed to the existence of the rank of ‘General’ in the present Gambian army as indication of this fact.
Over the past few weeks there have been persistent reports of alleged coup attempt, and this has mainly been fueled by a number of arrests of senior military officers, including the country’s immediate former army chief who was instrumental in foiling a coup that almost saw the removal of Yahya Jammeh who himself came to power by the barrel of the gun.
The men have since been in detention without charges or any official explanation from the authorities.