Adama Barrow, president-elect of the Gambia says it seemed impossible that the country could have a change of government through the ballot box.
Barrow beat long serving Yahya Jammeh in presidential elections held on December 1. In an interview with Gulf TV channel Al Jazeera, Barrow said the thought of defeating the Jammeh-led government looked impossible at a point.
‘‘Nobody thought we could change this government by the ballot box. But the mentality of the people, (and) social media, played a role in voter education,’‘ he said.
We want a free and independent judiciary whereby nobody can influence the judiciary. We will put laws in place to protect those people running the judiciary. They will have that job security, they will have that independence. We will reduce the powers of the president
He added further that, ‘‘We will educate the people to carry the reforms and guarantee job security. That will help people to continue working hard and make sure Gambia benefits from the civil service.’‘
In other responses, Barrow who takes over from Jammeh in January spoke about wide ranging reforms in the West African country. In the areas of agriculture, youth development, civil service reforms, mining and environmental protection.
He also hinted of the need to insulate the judiciary and also the need to reduce the powers of the president. ‘‘We want a free and independent judiciary whereby nobody can influence the judiciary. We will put laws in place to protect those people running the judiciary.
‘‘They will have that job security, they will have that independence. We will reduce the powers of the president,’‘ he added.
Jammeh who came to power through a coup, was in power for over two decades, he conceded defeat in Thursday’s presidential election to Adama Barrow. A video recording showed Jammeh speaking to Barrow and congratulating the businessman.
The country’s Electoral Commission head, Alieu Momarr Njie, officially announced final results in front of reporters at the electoral commission in Banjul. Njie is quoted by AFP as telling journalists that “It is truly exceptional that someone who has led the country so long has accepted his defeat.”
According to the Electoral Commission, Barrow won 263,515 votes (45.5%) in Thursday’s election, while President Jammeh took 212,099 (36.7%). A third party candidate, Mama Kandeh managed 102,969 (17.8%).
Barrow, the opposition coalition candidate ends 22-year rule by Yahya Jammeh who came to power through a coup in 1994. Internet and telephone communications which were cut hours before the start of polling on Thursday have reportedly been restored.