Thousands of Gambian citizens gathered to witness the inauguration of the country’s new president, Adama Barrow.
The inauguration took place on 18 February 2017 – which is also the country’s Independence Day. A crowd of around 20,000 people gathered at a stadium near the country’s capital city, Banjul.
The small West African country now celebrates improved freedoms after its former President, Yahya Jammeh, refused to step down.
This is the second time that the newly elected President has taken oath. His formal inauguration was delayed by Jammeh’s refusal to depart from office.
Barrow briefly took exile in Senegal during this period. Few people believed that the new President would see the day of his inauguration.
Newly inaugurated President Barrow said, “This is a victory for democracy. It is a victory for all Gambians”. Barrow is promising greater freedoms and an improved economy.
The crowd was told that the power was now in the people’s hands – they now have control over their future. Barrow vowed to free political prisoners and improve press freedom.
The President has inherited an “economy in decline”. Barrow vows to change this by encouraging investments in other sectors – such as the technology industry.
President Barrow will also introduce free primary education to the country. Free primary education was guaranteed by the country’s constitution but Jammeh failed to implement it.
The president said that Gambians have waited 22 years for “diverse tribes to be bridged by tolerance”. They have also waited for the opportunity for Gambians to work together for the “common good”.
President Barrow said from now on it is “one Gambia, one nation, one people”. Gambia is now “forever changed”.
The celebrations also mark 52 years of independence from Britain, its previous colonial master.