Billboards across Gambia’s capital are declaring a Feb. 18 ceremony to mark the inauguration of the country’s new leader, a day after his triumphant arrival, according to AFP.
Jubilant Gambians welcomed President Adama Barrow home on Thursday (26/01/2017), who was elected almost two months ago but forced to flee to Senegal when his predecessor Yahya Jammeh refused to step aside.
Wearing streaming white robes and a cap, Barrow stepped off the plane on Thursday, with troops from Senegal and Nigeria standing by as he flew in from neighbouring Senegal, where he had taken asylum on January 15.
Gambia has high hopes in Barrow, who has promised to create more opportunities in the small West African country and turn around a number of Jammeh’s activities, including his affirmation that the nation would pull back from the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The new President also said the new government will investigate alleged abuses under Jammeh, who has been blamed for administering a framework that tormented and even executed rivals.
“Much has to be done to tell the people their vote counts,” spokesman Halifa Sallah said Friday. The first step is getting the Cabinet announced, he added.
Around 4,000 West African troops remain in Gambia to ensure safety, as it is believed rogue pro-Jammeh elements remain in the security forces that were once under his personal control.
“President Adama Barrow has asked us to remain for two or three weeks to see if there are arms caches or mercenaries hiding out,” said Marcel Alain de Souza, head of the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) commission.
Jammeh left the country six days ago, where he ruled for 22 years and into exile, bringing an end to a protracted political crisis following presidential elections.
The longtime ruler refused to step down after a December 1 vote in which opposition leader Adama Barrow was declared the winner, triggering weeks of political tension as West African leaders threatened to use military force to oust him if he failed to step down.