Adama Barrow’s Return – It was all majestic when Adama Barrow’s flight landed at Banjul airport. As a matter of fact, the jubilation mode was already ignited before the president arrived the airport.
Barrow was significantly surrounded by West African troops from Senegal and Nigeria. Hovering high above the triumphant president-elect, was a fighter jet.
On Jammeh’s refusal to step down, Barrow fled to Senegal with his wives and some of his children on January 15. Sadly the president lost a son during the Gambian tension and was not able to attend his funeral.
As Jammeh succumbs to concession and flees the country, Barrow and his family return to a red carpet welcome. They were received by the military, top government figures and hundreds of cheering, drumming and dancing Gambian people.
Adama Barrow’s return to assume his merited position as the president has historically become Gambia’s first democratic transfer of power.
“I am a happy man today,”
“I think the bad part is finished now.”
After escaping the dictatorial claws of Jammeh’s 22 long year administration, Gambians are optimistic about the efficiency and delivery of the new president.
“We have been living under dictatorship for 22 years. You can go home at night and sleep without worrying you will be arrested before daybreak,”
– Ibrahima Gaye, Barrow supporter.
For security reasons, Barrow will be staying at his own residence at the moment. A report says that the State House is under close scrutiny to avoid potential risks.
Also, thousands of West African troops will remain in The Gambia until further notice, say 6 months, on the request of the returned leader.
Recall that the army once pledged their support for Jammeh and later retrieved their statement. In other words, the security and military personnel around the president will have to be scrutinized and confirmed as patriotic enough to defend the president and the interest of the nation at large.
Marcel Alain de Souza, head of the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) commission, said:
“President Adama Barrow has asked us to remain for two or three weeks to see if there are arms caches or mercenaries hiding out.”
Since he was sworn in outside the country, Barrow is still expected to officially address Gambians.
According to his spokesman Halifa Sallah, an inauguration is being scheduled for the national stadium in Banjul.
“It will be an occasion to show strength. Everyone will be invited. The president will address his people.”
The first point of attention after Adama Barrow’s return is organising his cabinet. His VP, Fatoumata Jallow-Tambajang, for instance, has been considered “constitutionally too old” for the position.
Though the new government says Jammeh can keep his fleet of exotic luxury cars, the ousted past president is under investigation for the alleged disappearance of $11.4 million.
President Barrow says it’s time to get the ball rolling. Fatou Jagne Senghor, the west Africa director of Article 19 concurs that Barrow has a handful to fix in Gambia.
“The transformation will not be easy,”
“To bring security, stability and fundamental freedoms when institutions are broken, the judiciary is not functioning, is going to be a major challenge.”