#Article (Archive)

Gambians react to Barrow’s victory

Dec 5, 2016, 10:33 AM | Article By: Halimatou Ceesay

Hundreds if not thousands of Gambians in Banjul and Kanifing Municipality Friday took to the streets to celebrate the election of Adama Barrow president of The Gambia.

As soon the chairman of Independent Electoral Commission, Alieu Momarr Njai, declared the final result of the 1st December election, there was an outpour of people on the streets to celebrate the first democratic change of government in the country since independence in 1965.

At the Ebo-Town market, supporters of the president-elect, mainly women, came out in their large numbers to celebrate Barrow’s victory, saying they were “very happy” with the way things turned out.

The women went to pay their respect to the family of Fatou Camara, the Ebo-Town women leader of the United Democratic Party (UDP) who was one of the three women convicted together with 11 UDP supporters at the Mansakonko High Court.  They are sentenced to 3 years jail term.

The women went to her compound with songs, singing and dancing, and shouting: “New Gambia has come”.

They paid respect to Fatou’s family and sympathised with them saying a day would soon come when she will be released and re-unite with her family and loved ones.

In a telephone chat with Fatou’s son (name withheld), he said: “The sleepless nightmare is over, victory has come; I am now anxiously and patiently waiting for my mother’s return from prison.”

A lady who supports the incumbent APRC party and a phone credit seller at Westfield said the victory of coalition candidate was a shocked to her for the fact that APRC has been here for many years and “we are happy with Jammeh’s leadership”.

The lady who pleads for anonymity she said now that there is change of government; her only worry was whether the new leader is going to accommodate all the tribes.

Our reporter also caught up with junior and senior schools students as well as young school teachers along the Westfield-New Jeshwang Highway celebrating Barrow’s victory and shouting: “Freedom for all; New Gambia has emerged”.

The students, just like the teachers, said they are optimistic of a new Gambia where everyone, young and old, would be allowed to take part in decision-making processes.

“We are tired of decisions being made that affects our lives and livelihoods when we are not put in the picture,” they said, adding that changing the country to civilian rule was a big decision they made so that they would be free from military command.

The youth said they have high hopes in president-elect Barrow in terms of employment creation and opening up the private sector for investors to come invest and create jobs.

A primary school teacher said the incumbent government misconceived the very meaning of free primary education because the schools, teachers and students are all suffering from the free education proclamation.

The teacher said the incumbent government only gives primary schools nothing more than D5,000 for all the pupils and that is not even enough to get the schools cash power.

“At the schools, we can no longer do any maintenance work as a result, the classrooms are collapsing and the furniture are being eaten up by termites,” the schoolteacher said.

The teacher’s hope is that with the change of government, the new one would remedy the current situation on the ground to put smiles on the faces of the children once again.

A youth man who goes by the name Baba who just returned from his native Kiang said the people of his native village have been suffering in silence and have been patience for long time now.

He lamented that his village, like every part of The Gambia, deserved development but they were denied just because they failed to support the incumbent and his government.

For us from Kiang, he said, the election victory was more than just a change of government; it is to choose the person who would bring them development.

The head of the women kafoo in Farato village said the victory was important to all of them because The Gambia is now divided along tribal lines so there is a need for a new leader to lead and unite people.

She said as mothers and parents, their daughters and sons from different tribes would fall in love but when they want to get married the parents would not allow it because of the tribal difference.

The woman expressed optimism that the president-elect would be able to unite The Gambia.

In Brikama, the jubilant women chanted, ‘freedom at last’; they said they voted the incumbent out because they want to re-unite with their sons and daughters who are in the prison for crimes they have no idea about.

They said the new government should release all political prisoners.