Gambian President Appoints Controversial Interior Minister

Gambia's Adama Barrow Says Win Heralds 'New Hope'
Gambia’s President Adama Barrow PHOTO: AFP

 

Gambian President Adama Barrow on Thursday reshuffled his government, controversially appointing as interior minister a former police chief who was in post when a political activist was murdered.

Solo Sandeng’s death in custody in April 2016 sparked a political movement that eventually ousted former leader Yahya Jammeh, who ruled the tiny West African nation with an iron fist for 22 years.

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Sandeng’s killing encouraged a weak and split political opposition to unite behind Barrow who went on to beat Jammeh in a December 2016 election.

Barrow also appointed a defence minister, former Olympic sprinter Sheikh Omar Faye, for the first time in 22 years, a statement said. The functions were previously exercised by the president

Gambian prosecutors in March 2018 charged eight former spies with conspiracy to murder Sandeng while nine more, including the National Intelligence Agency former chief Yankuba Badjie, are already on trial.

AFP

Best Route To National Development Is Stability – Buhari

Best Route To National Development Is Stability – Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari with President Adama Barrow of The Gambia at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on August 1, 2018.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari says there is no development without stability, as development is usually the first casualty in an unstable polity.

The President made the declaration on Wednesday when he received President Adama Barrow of The Gambia at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

“The best route to national development is stability,” he said in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina. “When a country is not stable, you spend most of your financial resources on security.”

“That is the money that should have gone into education, infrastructure, and generating employment for the people, particularly youths,” President Buhari added.

He congratulated Mr Barrow for stabilising The Gambia after his emergence as president after the impasse when his immediate predecessor, Yahya Jammeh, initially refused to vacate office after losing the presidential election in December 2016.

In his response, The Gambian President thanked President Buhari for the role Nigeria played in helping his country return to the path of constitutional democracy.

He also congratulated the Nigerian President on his emergence as the new Chairman of ECOWAS.

Barrow noted that he was the first foreign leader to visit Abuja after the development.

Adama Barrow Sworn In As President In Banjul

Adama Barrow Sworn-In As Gambian PresidentAdama Barrow has been sworn as President in Banjul, the Gambia’s capital.

The occasion was witnessed by thousands of people at the independence stadium.

It is the second time Mr Barrow is taking the oath of office.

The first time was at a very low-key event at the country’s embassy in Senegal, January, after a lengthy power struggle with the former President, Yahya Jammeh.

Mr Barrow is the third president in the history of the Gambia, and the celebration is also marking 52 years of the country’s independence.

Jammeh had refused to accept election results but finally left after mediation by regional leaders and the threat of military intervention.

The former President eventually flew into exile, ending his 22 years in power.

Gambia’s Central Bank Account Intact, Barrow’s Spokesman Says

gambia-currencyA spokesman for the president of Gambia has said that the nation’s central bank deposits are “intact”, a day after the new leader, Adama Barrow, said there was no money left in the state coffers.

Barrow said on Sunday that it appeared his exiled predecessor, Yahya Jammeh, had looted state resources after his election defeat.

A Barrow adviser later said Jammeh had withdrawn the equivalent of over $11.5 million before he flew out of the country as West African troops were poised to remove him.

That amount would represent 1.2 per cent of Gambia’s 2015 GDP, according to World Bank figures.

“There had been information to the public about the central bank. It was of particular concern but the inspector general (of) police told me that everything is intact,” Reuters quoted Halifa Sallah as saying at a news conference in Gambia’s capital Banjul.

It was not immediately clear if Barrow and his adviser, Mai Ahmad Fatty, had been referring to central bank funds or other state resources. Fatty could not be reached for clarification.

According to Reuters, Jammeh is believed to have acquired a vast fortune, including a fleet of Rolls-Royces and an estate in a wealthy suburb of Washington, D.C during his rule.

Reports say luxury cars and other items were seen being loaded onto a Chadian cargo plane on the night Mr Jammeh left the country.

The veteran leader, who had refused to hand over power after his defeat in December’s election, flew out of Gambia late on Saturday en route to Equatorial Guinea after negotiations backed by regional military pressure.

But even before the cheers to celebrate Jammeh’s departure had died down, there was dismay that the former soldier was being allowed to flee into luxurious exile and might hold onto his fortune.

Mr Barrow had said that over 11 million dollars was missing from the Gambia’s state coffers.

An Adviser to President Adama Barrow, Mai Ahmad Fatty, also said financial experts were trying to evaluate the exact loss.

Dogara Commends Buhari, ECOWAS Leaders Over Gambia

Dogara Commends Buhari, ECOWAS Leaders Over GambiaThe Speaker of the House of Representatives in Nigeria, Rt Hon Yakubu Dogara, has commended President Muhammadu Buhari and other ECOWAS leaders for the role they played in averting a major political crisis in The Gambia.

In a statement issued on Sunday by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Turaki Hassan, the Speaker said that President Buhari and his colleagues have averted a major political crisis that could have engulfed not only the Gambia but the entire West African sub region.

The Speaker said that the leaders masterfully deployed diplomacy backed with potential military action to compel former Gambian dictator, Yahya Jammeh to relinquish power to President Adama Barrow.

“The leaders have demonstrated their readiness and strong resolve to defend democracy on the continent.

“This would send strong signals to the world that democracy has come to stay in Africa. There is no room any longer for tyrants and dictators in the continent”, he said.

The Speaker maintained that in spite of any misgivings about democracy and its impact on the lives of the people, it still remains the best form of government and that “the will of the people and the consent of the governed remain the only basis of any government.”

Dogara said that the task ahead of African leaders is to fashion ways of making the system better  to deliver the greatest good to the greater number of people in order to enthrone good government, defeat poverty, engender patriotism and trust in the democratic system of government.

Gambia’s Yahya Jammeh Flies Into Exile In Equatorial Guinea

Yayah Jammeh: Handover Deadline May Be ExtendedGambia’s former leader, Yahya Jammeh, flew out of the capital Banjul on Saturday and into exile after stepping down from power.

According to the BBC, he boarded a plane to Guinea, and will from there, travel on to exile in Equatorial Guinea, regional group ECOWAS says.

The authoritarian leader took power in a 1994 coup and stepped down overnight in the face of pressure from West African armies that entered Gambia to force him to recognise that he lost an election in December to President Adama Barrow.

ECOWAS mounting pressure to force Gambia’s Yahya Jammeh out of office paid off after all, as he has attributed his decision to step down to the pressure from West African armies which entered the Gambia this week.

Mr Jammeh had rejected the result of the presidential election he lost to Mr Barrow, even after he had earlier said he accepted the defeat.

His announcement on state television overnight signalled an end of a political impasse.

While Jammeh held on to power, tension rose, countries withdrew their nationals from the tiny nation and some 7,000 soldiers from Nigeria and Senegal entered Gambia backed by tanks and warplanes.

They were poised to move into the capital as Jammeh’s army provided no resistance.

While mediators led by Nigerian leader, Muhammadu Buhari, were making attempts to convince Mr Jammeh to accept defeat and hand over power to Mr Barrow, Nigeria’s House Of Representatives pushed forward a request to the President.

They wanted President Buhari to provide an offer of asylum in Nigeria to Jammeh, but mediation talks did not yield result.

Reuters had reported that Jammeh spent much of Friday in talks in Banjul with the presidents of Guinea and Mauritania over where he would live and whether he could be offered amnesty for alleged crimes committed during his years in power.

Those talks were yet to be concluded and some in Banjul said they were angry he was being allowed to bargain and sceptical he would in fact step down, not least because he first accepted he lost the December 1 election to Barrow and then changed his mind.

Why I Stepped Down, Gambia’s Jammeh Explains

Gambia Election: Jammeh Given Last Chance To ResignECOWAS mounting pressure to force Gambia’s Yahya Jammeh out of office paid off after all, as he has attributed his decision to step down to the pressure from West African armies which entered the Gambia this week.

Mr Jammeh had rejected the result of the presidential election he lost to Adama Barrow, even after he had earlier said he accepted the defeat.

Jammeh is yet to leave the presidential palace but his announcement on state television overnight appears to signal an end of a political impasse. It also brings to a close a reign that began in 1994 when he seized power in a coup.

While Jammeh held on to power, tension rose, countries withdrew their nationals from the tiny nation and some 7,000 soldiers from Nigeria and Senegal entered Gambia backed by tanks and warplanes. They were poised to move into the capital as Jammeh’s army provided no resistance.

ECOWAS delegations led by Nigeria’s leader, Muhammadu Buhari had at different journeys to the country tried to convince Jammeh to hand over power but he insisted he was staying on.

After talks failed to yield a positive result, ECOWAS said it would involve military in ensuring he handed over power.

“I have decided today in good conscience to relinquish the mantle of leadership of this great nation,” said Jammeh, dressed in a usual white robe and looking tired.

“It was not dictated by anything else but by the supreme interest of you the gambian people and out dear country taking into consideration my prayer that peace and security continue to reign in the Gambia.

“All those who have supported me or were against me in this period, I implore them to put the supreme interest of our nation the Gambia above all partisan interest and endeavour to work together as one nation,” he added.

Jammeh made no mention of whether he would go into exile, but said he was leaving power in the national interest and was grateful there was no bloodshed during the political stalemate.

Reuters reports that he spent much of Friday in talks in Banjul with the presidents of Guinea and Mauritania over where he would live and whether he could be offered amnesty for alleged crimes committed during his years in power.

Those talks were yet to be concluded and some in Banjul said they were angry he was being allowed to bargain and sceptical he would in fact step down, not least because he first accepted he lost the December 1 election to Barrow and then changed his mind.

In a last bid to cling to power this week, he declared a state of emergency and dissolved the cabinet. More than half the government resigned and 45,000 people fled to Senegal.

“It’s hard because we want our freedom now. But this man he can say this today and tomorrow it can be different. That’s the kind of person he is,” said Ismaila Ndiaye, 61, a plumber and stone mason as he gathered with others close to State House.

Patience Williams, 50, a dental nurse, derided the West African leaders for not taking a tougher line and said: “He’s a stubborn man. It should be surrender, handcuffs or death.”

‘Rule Of Fear’ Banished

Hours to the inauguration set date, the parliament extended Jammeh’s rule by 90 days, but that did not stop the inauguration of Mr Barrow in Senegal.

Barrow, 51, is a soft-spoken man who worked as a property developer and led an opposition coalition few thought would win.

He was sworn in at the Gambian embassy in Senegal on Thursday and called for international support.

“The rule of fear has been banished from Gambia for good,” Barrow told a crowd at a Dakar hotel on Friday, once it became clear a deal had been struck for Jammeh to relinquish power.

“To all of you forced by political circumstances to flee our country, you now have the liberty to return home,” he said. Barrow was also expected to return to the country.

The crisis was a test for regional bloc ECOWAS, not least because Jammeh held office longer than any other current president in the grouping of states. The African Union and U.N. Security Council supported the military intervention.

 

Osinbajo Resumes As Acting President, Gets Update On The Gambia Situation

yemi-osinbajoNigeria’s acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, on Friday received updates and briefs on the Gambian situation and other issues in the country from a number of cabinet ministers.

A spokesman for the Vice President, Mr Laolu Akande, hinted of the briefing in a post published on his twitter handle on Friday.

“Work Of Change”

Mr Akande had earlier tweeted that “work of change” had always been on Professor Osinbajo’s mind.

He said Professor Osinbajo had returned from the World Economic Forum in Davos on Thursday night to attend to some engagements in Ibadan, on Friday morning.

President Muhammadu Buhari had in a letter to the National Assembly announced his deputy, as acting president while he is away on vacation.

In Gambia, President Yahya Jammeh on Friday agreed to leave office and allow internationally recognised Adama Barrow, who had been sworn in, begin administration of government activities.

Mr Barrow had on his Twitter handle announced Mr Jammeh’s decision to leave, a development that could douse the already tensed atmosphere in the Gambia.

Gambia: Yahya Jammeh Agrees To Leave

Gambia Election: Jammeh Given Last Chance To ResignThe president-elect of Gambia Mr Adama Barrow, has confirmed that President Yahya Jammeh has agreed to step down and hand over power.

Mr Barrow announced Mr Jammeh’s decision in a tweet on his Twitter handle.

This is coming just as a delegation of West African leaders left Gambia’s presidential residence where they had sought to convince Mr Jammeh, who lost a December presidential poll, to step down and go into exile, a Reuters said earlier on Friday.

It was not immediately clear if Jammeh was aboard one of the two dozen vehicles seen departing the compound.

Few days before Mr Barrow’s swearing-in ceremony on Thursday, Nigeria, leading the mediation, sent in troops, making a strong statement about ECOWAS’ decision to involve military force.

The troops and other West African troops have entered The Gambia but have halted their advance.

Internationally recognised President Adama Barrow will, however, remain in Senegal until operation over.

ECOWAS, AU, UN Congratulate Gambian President, Adama Barrow

ECOWAS, AU, UN Congratulate Gambian President, Adama BarrowThe ECOWAS Commission, African Union and United Nations have congratulated the President of the Republic of The Gambia, Mr Adama Barrow, on the occasion of his swearing-in and assumption of office.

This is following his victory at the presidential election of December 1, 2016 and in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia.

The joint statement was released on Thursday evening after Adama Barrow took the oath of office in neighbouring Senegal as incumbent Yahya Jammeh refused to leave office.

“The ECOWAS Commission, African Union and United Nations equally congratulate the people of The Gambia who have demonstrated patience, discipline, maturity and resolve to defend their popular will, as expressed in the 1st December, 2016 presidential election and during the post-electoral crisis.

“The ECOWAS Commission, African Union and United Nations once again commend the independence, professionalism and commitment of members of the Independent Electoral Commission of The Gambia and all political parties for exercising the needed restraint that paved way for the peaceful conduct of the 1st December, 2016 presidential election.

“The ECOWAS Commission, African Union and United Nations commend the leadership and commitment demonstrated by Her Excellency (Mrs) Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia and Chair of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, as well as His Excellency  Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and ECOWAS Mediator, and H.E. John Dramani Mahama, former President of the Republic of Ghana and Co-Mediator, for the efforts undertaken for the resolution of the post-electoral impasse in The Gambia in full compliance with constitutional legality to ensure peaceful transfer of power.

“The ECOWAS Commission, African Union and United Nations urge His Excellency Adama Barrow to take all necessary steps to strengthen national unity, social harmony and peace in the Gambia with a view to addressing the socio-political and economic challenges that have hampered poverty reduction in the country.

“The ECOWAS Commission, African Union and United Nations once again urge the Security Forces to observe neutrality and conduct themselves in a civil manner, and to strongly support President Barrow by maintaining public order and security which are essential to the stability and development of the country.

“The ECOWAS Commission, African Union and United Nations reaffirm their commitment to continue accompanying The Gambia in consolidating democracy and rule of law in the country,” the statement reads.

ECOWAS Mandates Deployment Of Forces To The Gambia

ECOWAS Mandates Deployment Of Forces To The GambiaThe Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has formally approved the deployment of troops to The Gambia.

In a statement signed by Nigeria’s Minister of Defence, Mr Mohammed Dan-Ali, the federal government explained that ECOWAS decided in a meeting to use its standby force in upholding the result of the presidential election held in The Gambia in December 2016, which produced Mr Adama Barrow as winner.

The Minister added that in line with the ECOWAS directive, the Nigerian military would deploy its assets to protect the people of The Gambia and maintain regional peace and security.

 

Adama Barrow Sworn-In As Gambian President

Adama Barrow Sworn-In As Gambian PresidentAdama Barrow has been sworn in as Gambian President in neighbouring Senegal as incumbent Yahya Jammeh refuses to leave office.

The man who won The Gambia’s disputed election, took the oath at the Gambian embassy in Senegal.

“This is a day no Gambian will ever forget in a lifetime,” Barrow said in a speech immediately after taking the oath of office.

Adama Barrow, born 16 February 1965, is a member of the United Democratic Party (UDP).

Prior to his presidential campaign, he was the treasurer of the UDP and operated a real estate agency.

He established the agency, Majum Real Estate, in 2006 after returning from studies in London, England.

He has been exiled in Senegal having had his victory at the presidential election of 2016 rejected by the former president, Yahya Jammeh.

He arrived Senegal at the weekend following an invitation to attend a summit of African leaders who back his victory.

He missed the Monday funeral of his eight-year-old son who died after being mauled by a dog, as he was advised to remain in Senegal for his safety.

Jammeh, who has been in power since a 1994 coup, initially conceded to Barrow before he then back-tracked, saying the vote was flawed and there had to be a re-run.

Overnight talks with African leaders to convince him to stand down failed.