(JollofNews) – Adama Barrow has been sworn-in this afternoon as the third president of the Gambia.
Dressed in all white, Mr Barrow, 51, who was declared winner of last month’s election by the country’s electoral commission, took his oath of office at the Gambian Embassy in the Senegalese capital, Dakar.
He was forced to cancelled earlier plans to hold the event at the Independence Stadium, Bakau, after the country’s long-term ruler, Yahya Jammeh rejected the election results and declared a state of emergency.
And in the absence of the Chief Justice of the Gambia, the president of the Gambia Bar Association, Sheriff Tambedou, was drafted in to swear-in the former property developer.
Speaking shortly after the ceremony which was attended by western dignitaries including Senegalese Prime Minister Mohammed Dionne, UN special representative and head of the United Nation’s Office for West Africa, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, and officials from West Africa’s regional bloc, Ecowas, Mr Barrow said although exceptional circumstances have prevented the Gambian people who made the day possible from attending the event, he is dedicating it to all Gambians who courageously voted to usher their country into a new beginning.
“There are no losers in this election. This is a victory for the Gambian nation. Power belongs to the people in the Gambia,” he said.
Mr Barrow extended his gratitude to Ecowas, AU, the Security Council, United Nations and all friendly nations who stood with Gambians during their time of greatest need.
He added: “I wish to thank his Excellency Macky Sall, president of the Republic of Senegal for the hospitality accorded to me and my delegation at the request of Ecowas chair. This is what it means to be part of a community of democratic nations.”
Mr Barrow call on the Gambian security forces to “remain loyal to the constitution” and stay in their barracks. Soldiers found outside with firearms would be considered rebels, he said.
“From today on I am the president of The Gambia regardless of whether you voted for me or not,” he said.
Mr Barrow added that his election was an opportunity for Gambians to “effect change that has been in the making for decades” and pledged “liberty and prosperity for everyone” regardless of ethnicity or gender.
He also vowed constitutional and legal reforms and said his election was the start of a meritocratic Gambia where “what you know” will be count for more than “who you know”.
Mr Jammeh’s Information minister, Seedy SK Njie has dismissed Mr Barrow’s inauguration and maintains that Mr Jammeh is still the legitimate president of the Gambia.
Mr Njie said Mr Jammeh has been given a mandate to rule the Gambia for an additional 90 days by the country’s National Assembly in accordance with the country’s constitution.
“As far as we are concerned, there are laws governing this country and the due process of the law must be followed. There is peace in the country and the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Gambia should be respected,” he said.