New Dawn as Adama Barrow takes power as Gambia’s President

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By Kemi Kasumu with Agency reports

The dust raised by weeks of disagreements over concession and later rejectionof the December 1, 2016 presidential election results in The Gambia settled on Thursday as the winner of the election, Mr. Adama Barrow finally took oath of office as President of the West African nation.

Barrow was sworn in as the third President of The Gambia in an inauguration conducted by President of the Gambian Bar Association, Mr. Sheriff Tambadou.

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He took the oath of office in Gambian Embassy in Senegal.

The DEFENDER had Wednesday in its news analysis titled, “How Muhammadu Buhari-led ECOWAS Mediation will install new Gambia’s President without violence,” reported said, “However, watchers of events in The Gambia are of the view that the most possible option available to ECOWAS is to create an enabling ground for Adama Barrow in the neighbouring Senegal for him to form his government there as there is nothing that can be done inside Gambia with Jammeh still holding on to power unyielding to any appeal; except ECOWAS wants to use force.

The six-month old online media suggested that, “Since Buhari, who leads the transition programme on the West Africa’s tiniest nation, says he doesn’t want violent transition, it would mean that the West African leaders would see to Adama Barrow’s inauguration in absential, form his new government in Senegal, recognised by ECOWAS, AU and the UN.  President Adama Barrow will then give directives for ECOWAS to move into The Gambia and clear the ground for the heroic entry of the new President into his country of responsibility and movement on to occupying his place in the presidential villa in Banjul,” reported The DEFENDER on Wednesday.

Barrow was relocated to Dakar by the ECOWAS Mediation Team led by Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari last Friday.

Ousted Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh, who had earlier conceded defeat in the Dec. 1 presidential election, but later rejected the result of the poll, has yet to vacate office in spite of regional and international intervention.

But in a resolution on Thursday, the United Nations Security Council had affirmed and recognised Adama Barrow as now the legitimate President of The Gambia, declaring that “former President Yahya Jammeh is out”.

The President of the Security Council, Olof Skoog (Sweden), told the UN Correspondents after the adoption of the Resolution 2337 (2017) by consensus by the 15-Member Council.

Barrow, in his inaugural speech, said that there was no loser in the elections and called for national unity among all citizens.

He also urged personnel of the Gambian Armed Forces to remain loyal to the Constitution.

“As Commander-in-Chief, I call on all personnel of the armed forces and other security agencies to be loyal to the Constitution and the Republic.

“As their Commander-in-Chief, I command all members of the Armed Forces to remain in the barracks and those found wanting or in possession of firearms without my command shall be considered rebels,” he said.

The President also said that his administration had developed a think-tank to put in place inclusive development, and urged all Gambians to “join hands to effect the change that will bring liberty and prosperity to everyone.”

He commended the efforts of ECOWAS, African Union, United Nations and the international community for the efforts made to support the will of the Gambian people.

The inauguration ceremony was attended by ECOWAS Commission President, Marcel de Souza, ECOWAS Parliament President, Moustapha Cisse Lo and ECOWAS Commissioner, Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Mrs Alima Ahmed.

The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Head of UN Office for West Africa, Mohammed Ibn Chambas, was also present at the ceremony.  Members of the diplomatic community were also represented.

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