Gambians celebrate homecoming of new President, Adama Barrow

Gambians celebrate homecoming of new President, Adama Barrow
Gambian President Adama Barrow is seen during an exclusive interview with Reuters in Banjul, Gambia, December 12, 2016. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

Thousands of people lined the streets of Gambia‘s capital Banjul on Thursday, January 26 to welcome home new President Adama Barrow days after authoritarian leader Yahya Jammeh fled into exile under pressure from regional forces.

Clad in a long white African tunic, Barrow smiled and waved from a moving car as he drove through crowds of cheering people, excited at his presidency and with hopes that he will improve employment rates in the country.

“We are expecting that (President Adama Barrow will) create a lot of jobs for the youths, so that employment rate can go higher and higher”, said one young man said.

Barrow, a former real estate agent, won a Dec. 1 election but Jammeh refused to step down, forcing his opponent to be inaugurated at the Gambian Embassy in neighbouring Senegal.

Jammeh’s 22 years of increasingly repressive rule came to an end last week after he fled to Equatorial Guinea as thousands of soldiers from the West African ECOWAS regional bloc were poised to remove him by force.

Barrow’s surprise ballot box victory and the determination of Western and African countries to uphold it is being celebrated as a moment of democratic hope for Africa.

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Story By Reuters
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