Adama Barrow has now turned one year since he took Gambia’s leadership from
former President Yahya Jammeh. Yesterday Sunday was also exactly one year since
former President Yahya Jammeh went into exile in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.
Since he took until now, Gambians have been analyzing what they called positive impacts of the Barrow lead government and suggesting for improvement in some areas.
Mr. Barrow won the December 2016 Presidential Elections, ending Mr. Jammeh’s 22-year rule of the small West African nation with a population of 1.9 million people. Little was known about Mr. Barrow in Gambian politics. His fame came apparently two months before the elections when he became the flag bearer of the seven-party coalition that ousted Mr. Jammeh.
Some analysts say just one year into Barrow’s leadership, Gambians are today enjoying a kind of freedom that has been usurped from them by the Jammeh administration for 22 good years but some say the new government still needs improvement in several areas.
President Barrow was sworn in as Gambia’s third president in the country’s embassy in neighbouring Senegal following his attending the France-Africa Peace Summit in Mali’s capital, Bamako where he was flown to by West African regional bloc, Ecowas mediators during Mr. Jammeh’s refusal to cede power.
Today, Gambians have the freedom to discuss political matters and to hold their leaders responsible of their actions which were impossible during Jammeh’s time.
As in our last week special edition, The Point’s reporters conducted interviews to gauge the opinion of people about the exchanges see in the Barrow regime. Below are the interviews:
Kahla Ceesay, vegetable seller: “I support Barrow’s government and hoping that he will go for the five-year term so that he can implement all his promises to Gambian people. I thank Allah that we are in a democratic state now, where there is freedom of expression. I am pleading with the government to reduce the price of food items to make the living of average Gambia easy. Apart from that, I am praying for the government on their responsibilities to serve the Gambia on the right path.”
Alieu Ceesay: “We prayed for democracy to avail in the country and Allah has accepted our prayers by bringing a new President. I am also pleading with the government to reduce the tax especially for us doing petty business in Serekunda market; the daily duty taxes imposed on us is sometimes making our work hard.
I am a Gambian and I supported President Barrow. I am now calling on him and his government to help us especially in the market on the challenges we face daily.”
Ndey Jaw, business woman: “More women are engaged in petty business. We expect the Barrow government to support and assist the women. Barrow should work harder because to handle a government is not an easy task. We want him to speak with the people on their concerns to have the sense of interaction with us because since he took the government, hardly will I hear him speak on the worries and try to control situations.
Crimes are becoming too much in The Gambia and the Government should step up and help us.”
Abie Njie, civil servant: “Security is my greatest concern about the new government and they should try to educate the people about democracy. Trying to instill democracy does not mean we should do anything we feel like doing including taking people’s properties, killing, or fighting one another. The transportation system is becoming weak, taxi drivers are treating people anyhow. Since the reduction of transport fares, we are having problem. The free market style is also another challenge. The government should look back and help the average Gambian because feeding is becoming expensive for us to afford.”
Lamin B. Ceesay, youth activist: “As Gambians, it is important to look back on the new political dispensation reflecting from the past to move forward. Young people voted the coalition government for change, promises have been made and issues are confronting us particularly migration and unemployment which are threats to national security. They should consider these issues and work with the National Youth Council to upgrade the life of young people. We the youth are tasking the government to help with the energy as it are the key for development.”
Adama Marong, lecturer Gambia Tourism and Hospitality Institute: “Now Gambians feel very secure under President Adama Barrow and we hope that will continue so that Gambia can become well developed.”
Mamadou Ceesay, Gambia Tourism and Hospitality Institute: “Through his actions, President is a good leader and I am hopeful that he will lead this country through the right path.”
Gaston Jarjue: “President Barrow is moving the country in the right direction but my opinion is that he and his government officials need to reduce their number of travelling.”
Muhammed Mamudou, businessman: “Well my business has improved very well since the coming of President Adama Barrow. We hope that Gambia will soon start to development like other development countries.”
Modou Bojang, a phone credit vendor: “Gambia’s peace will always continue. Now, having a civilian government, we hope that everything is going to be fine and the country will return to its lost glories for the mutual benefit of the people.”
Momodou Salieu Jallow, a shopkeeper: “I was in a state of fear during Jammeh’s time but now, business has started flourishing in The Gambia. Government just needs to priorities its engagements.”
Papa Njie a welder: “We expect the new government to come with opportunities for young people. If opportunities are provided, the rate of irregular migration will come down or even totally stopped.”
Namory Trawally, a Gambian journalist: “I am still optimistic that Gambians voted for change and for democracy and whatever should happen the will of the people must be respected. We envisage a New Gambia that will accommodate good governance and maintain rule of law for the country’s development”
Kaddy Jaiteh, Kololi: “President Barrow is starting good with his new government and we hope that will always continue.”
Modou Sabally, artiste: “Lives are greatly changing in Gambia since President Barrow came to power and we hope that will continue so that jobs can be created and every Gambian can benefit equally.”
Ebrima Camara, Busumbala: “Gambia is now free forever when president Barrow became the president. We are hopeful that we will see the country developing more and more as we all envisaged”
Laurence Gomez, Kotu: “We will not blame the Barrow government much considering the way former government was ruling this country. But is calmness need to change. He need to be rigid and decisive in taking decisions to stop all the noises in the country.”
Haddy Corr, Pipeline: “We thank God for witnessing Barrow’s first year in office and we hope to see more development in years to come. Every Gambian is looking forward to see the country regaining its lost glory during Barrow’s time and this has already started. ”
Mamadou Jallow, Tabokoto: “Personally, I think Barrow’s administration is on track in the areas of rule of low and good governance. But we would like to see more development projects coming into the country.”
Reporting by: Njie Baldeh, Fatou Cham, Rose Zahar Gomez, Momodou Jawo, Lamin Darboe and Cherno Omar Bobb