Gano Licks Old Wounds; Recounts Bitter Encounter With Ndure

Ndure Cham and I watching the Senegalese Independence Anniversary parade in Dakar in 2004
Ndure Cham and I watching the Senegalese Independence Anniversary parade in Dakar in 2004

The former Aide de Camp of President Yahya Jammeh has opened up his bitter encounter with the mastermind of the March 21st abortive coup. Lt. Col. Lamin Gano, who became the first high-ranking military official to resign from the army, explains how his pre-coup exchange with Col. Ndure Cham turns sour. Gano writes in his blog [] that the former Army Chief of Staff likened him to “a dirty civilian” who believes in the power of ballot to remove the man who was ready to kill them. Lt. Col. Gano is also a former military spokesman.


I was having breakfast at the Defence Headquarters of the Gambia Armed Forces on Wednesday the 1st of March 2006 when  Colonel Ndure Cham, the Chief of Defence Staff at that time, came in to the mess to smoke a cigarette. No sooner had he lighted up a cigarette than he started to talk to me about President Jammeh. He gave me a long list of wrong and bad things that the President has done and an equally lengthy list of good things that he has failed to do. The Colonel argued that Jammeh was not only a liability to the Gambia and her people but also a big problem for the West African sub region as well as an obstacle for the general progress of the African Continent. In his opinion, Jammeh had completely outlived his usefulness as a president and therefore had to leave power by all means necessary.

When the Chief of Defence Staff finished talking, I responded: “Well, Sir, I agree to some extent on your assessment of Jammeh. However, I beg to differ on your concept of by all means necessary. But luckily for us, it is election year and I am sure that Gambians are well aware of the record of their President and they would therefore most certainly make the right decision in September on whether to renew his mandate or to change him. Col Cham lost his temper on me and threw a few profanities at me before adding:

“Gano, you are talking like a dirty civilian. You see somebody aiming a weapon at you and you are telling me that you will dive when he pulls the trigger. This man is going to kill all of us before the elections. You continue to sit there and wait, I am not waiting for any bloody elections”.

I did not understood what he meant by that remark until three weeks later on the 22 March when I came to work and found the Defence Headquarters under siege by personnel of the State Guards Battalion. When I got to my office, I was informed by a female Corporal that there was a coup attempt the previous night. What happened on the 21st of March 2006 and its consequences is in the history books and still fresh in the minds of some of us.

Ten years have passed since my exchange with Colonel Cham and while a lot of things have changed, some things have not. For example, it is election year once again for the Republic of The Gambia; President Jammeh is still in power; the discourse on the good, the bad and the ugly of Jammeh and his government is still ongoing; and some still share Colonel Cham’s views that Jammeh must be removed from power by all means necessary including the use of force.

However, one important thing that has also not changed is my conviction that who governs The Gambia should be a collective decision made by the majority of the Gambian people and that decision is best made through free, fair and peaceful elections. It is not the prerogative of any one person or a small group of people be they soldiers, rebels or civilians to make unilateral decision on the destiny of a country. Coup d’états had not been able to solve Africa’s governance, security, development, health and economic problems in the past and I don’t believe that they will ever solve those problems in the future.

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  1. Deyda Haidara

    Gano said: “Coup d’états had not been able to solve Africa’s governance, security, development, health and economic problems in the past and I don’t believe that they will ever solve those problems in the future.” Gano why did you serve a soldier who came to power by a coup d’etat.?? Why should Gambians not consider overthrowing a soldier who came to power through the back door.
    Yaya Jammeh should not be an exception to the rule Mr. Gano. Soldiers have the right to topple Jammeh and hand over government to the civilians. Gambia need an “ATT” Amadou Toumani Toure of Mali to salvage their battered image.
    Gano, you are better off telling us the cheats, the killings and the stealings of your former boss than trying to tell us what we the civilians know better than you.

  2. Lt col Gano is now enjoying the fruits of democracy because he live in the west . When he was selfishly looking after his position and dined with the dictator , he never had such feelings or thoughts about African military coup . In his narrow mind , he forget to remember that the dictator who he has declared his loyal support to , respected and admired came through military coup as head of state. He was part and parcel of military dictatorship in The Gambia because he was the chief spokesperson for the devil . I believe mr Gano has first hand knowledge about atrocities committed after 2006 failed coup , during which Daba marenah , Lt Alieu Ceesay ( a sole breadwinner for his family was killed ) and others were summarily executed while he sat down at defense headquarters without saying a word . Lt col Gano should tell us what was his role in the coup if any . He refused to tell us what he has done when Ndure Cham informed him about his plans or ambition . Lt Col Gano has implicated himself when he indicated that he participated in the discussion with col Cham . He only informed us about his side of the story but we didn’t hear col Cham’s story , therefore Lt col Gano has opened the gates of conspiracy theories and relevant questions . We need answers .


    Good question Deyda. Why did he choose to serve one of the worst dictator’s of all times knowing fully well that he came to power illegally?? Give us a break Gano, u are an absolute joke.

  4. I think some of you are very racist because he is a jola that is why but you know what why can’t you confront him

    • Eddie Kolley , I want to tell you that Yaya Jammeh has killed a lot of jolas in The Gambia . Jammeh didn’t spare anyone in his brutality . In his Home village , there are number of victims who are his closed relatives. You need to educate yourself before you can engage in any meaningful conversation .