Gambia’s new president Adama Barrow grateful to John Mahama at swearing-in

Adama Barrow2
Adama Barrow (in white) was sworn in at the Gambian embassy in Senegal on Thursday

The Gambia’s new leader, Adama Barrow, has expressed gratitude to West African leaders who were solidly behind his nation in the throes of political instability.

He mentioned Ghana’s former president, John Dramani Mahama, as one of the leaders who helped to stabilize the situation in his country.

Mr Barrow, a real estate contractor, beat long-serving leader Yahya Jammeh at the polls on December 1, 2016.

After initially calling Mr Barrow to concede defeat, Mr Jammeh, who has ruled The Gambia for 22 years, rejected the results and asked the independent electoral body to conduct fresh elections.

Efforts by some West African leaders to talk Mr Jammeh out of such a move proved futile.

The Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) appointed Ghana’s John Dramani Mahama and Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari as mediators.

But two days to the expiration of his tenure, Mr Jammeh declared a 90-day state of emergency backed by The Gambia’s legislative.

READ: Jammeh declares state of emergency in The Gambia

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Ecowas, however, was bent to swear in Mr Barrow as the de jure president of the West African nation.

On Thursday, Mr Barrow was sworn in at the Gambian embassy in neighbouring Senegal.

“As of today, I am the president of Gambia whether you voted for me or not,” he said.

He promised better working conditions for the people of The Gambia.

Among the dignitaries present was the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA), Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas.

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“I must also express profound gratitude to [West African leaders] and the [UN] Security Council…who stood during our time of critical state.”

The new president described his victory as one for the Gambian nation.

“The capacity to offer change through the ballot box has proven the power of the Gambian people.”

Mr Barrow is expected to be escorted by a joint sub-regional security force to Banjul as the new leader of the Gambia, where former president Jammeh still resides.

READ: Ghana deploys troops to support Ecowas mission in The Gambia

By Emmanuel Kwame Amoh||Ghana