Adama Barrow’s victory has largely been seen by a majority of Gambians as a welcome relief for the tiny West African nation after stagnating under the grip of a dictatorial regime for more than two decades. The coming crucial weeks are expected to herald the age for a new
“This election victory brings joy and tears and no one could believe it. This is the unthinkable of the thinkable or better always the impossible is always possible,” said Alhaji Yorro Jallow, former editor of The Independent newspaper, which was banned by Jammeh for promoting democracy and rule of law.
Jallow said the opposition Coalition 2016 win is both astounding political and civil victory bringing an end to an era of a brutal dictatorship.
Last Thursday, Gambians voted out President Yahya Jammeh, putting an end to his 22-year rule. Civil society and human rights groups have constantly accused his regime of gross human rights violations, including continued crackdown on dissent, forcing many people to leave the country for fear of persecution.
Mr. Jallow alluded that this year’s election also marks the end of identity politics based on victimization and anger. “This victory is an era in which it is assumed that talented tough people of any background will find a way to their rightful place of power in mainstream political life.”
For his part, Abdul Savage, an American veteran of Gambian descent, hailed the new dawn. “The Gambian people did it with grace, style,patience and grandeur.
All credit must go to those back home, particularly our political leaders who make tremendous individual sacrifices for collective good of our nation,” he said.
The Texas-based army veteran, who is frequently sharing thoughts about
the Gambia on social media, pointed out the urgent need to “begin newer chapter in our Nation’s history with core, unshakable principles and values, such as accountability, transparency and constitutional guidelines put in place to ensure no further or minimal misuses and abuses of power that was prevalent in the outgoing government.”
As herculean tasks continue to remain in pending state, Gambian intellectual and activist Omar Joof commended the country’s political leaders who spearheaded Coalition 2016 for putting their differences aside. In his view, change is possible because of the move taken by prominent opposition leaders.
“The politicians listened and acted according to the peoples demand for a single opposition candidate,” he said.
An outlawed Gambian student union President, Omar Joof led hundred of
students in April 2000 to protest peacefully against the torture to death of a school boy which was followed by the rape of a teen girl. All crimes allegedly committed by members of the country’s security personnel. The police repression which ensued left 13 students and a
Omar Joof urged the coming national coalition government to “quickly identify the fundamentals of a new political dispensation which all Gambians will be committed to defending notwithstanding their different political affiliations.”
By Abdoulie John