The Gambian President Adama Barrow has finally returned from Senegal where he was sworn in as the new leader at The Gambian embassy in Dakar. President Barrow’s return marks a new era in the country, and the country certainly hopes to turn a new leaf following 22 years of Yahya Jammeh’s rule.
The people of Gambia jubilantly welcomed their new president, who was met at the airport by military and government officials. President Barrow who won the election and declared the winner by The Gambian Electoral Commission was forced to flee to neighboring Senegal after Jammeh refused to cede power.
Barrow stepped from the plane dressed in a West African attire, white robes and a hat, flanked by his two wives and some of his children and extended family.
Change at last
In the streets of Banjul, The Gambian capital, young people are celebrating the dawn of a new era, after two decades of Jammeh’s autocratic rule.
The Gambia is one of the best tourist destinations in West Africa with beautiful beaches, but the citizens have not fully benefitted from the revenue generated from tourism. There are allegations that Jammeh and his close associates looted the state coffers, but the people remain hopeful of a swift economic turnaround, and that their civil liberties will be respected and protected under President Barrow’s administration.
“President Adama Barrow will free this country from corruption, strengthen institutions and will not kill people who oppose. Gambians were looking for freedom, thank God it has arrived at last” said Jeremy Ado Ado, a Barrow supporter at The Gambian Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya.
Hundreds of people who gathered in the streets of Banjul to welcome their president are hopeful that Barrow’s leadership will be different from Jammeh’s autocratic rule.
President Barrow is expected to start the difficult task of rebuilding the county and uniting a deeply divided country.
The Gambian economy relies heavily on tourism, but following the political crisis, the country was already in a fragile state, and quick measures are needed to address the economic problems facing the country.
While Gambians remain hopeful, the reality is Barrow’s transition leadership faces a difficult task, and will need time to make the much needed changes. There are high expectations from the population that Barrow’s leadership will create employment for the youth, create an inclusive society, which respects the citizens’ civil liberties.