Residents of Banjul, the capital of The Gambia are reacting to the news of Adama Barrow’s re-election for a second term as president.
The incumbent candidate won more than 53% of the vote according to results released by the electoral commission. Thousands of people took to the streets to celebrate Barrow’s reelection late Sunday evening when the Chairman of the IEC, Alieu Mommar Njie, announced the results and prayed for peace to prevail in the nation of about 2.4 million people.
Gambians now expect Adama Barrow to bring something “better” to the west African nation, including the “creation of more jobs” for the young.
“I can’t say much about that, because he wasn’t the one I voted for anyway. But as far as I am concerned, so long as there is peace, there is stability. We will give him another five years, and see what he comes up with” Rose Fatou Coker, an entrepreneur in agro-food products said.
For Alhajie Fatty, a private driver, this is a new opportunity to make things better. “Many youths are idle, there are a lack of jobs you know. So when they create more jobs for them maybe things should be better, before they go this backway and suffer.”
President Barrow easily beat out his main competition, Ousainou Darboe of the United Democratic Party who received about 28% of the vote.
Barrow, from the National People’s Party (NPP) emerged victorious with 457,519 of the votes cast. UDP’s Darboe was credited with 238,233 votes, and Mama Kandeh of the Gambia Moral Congress party came in third with 105,902 votes, according to results announced by the IEC.
The results, however, have already been contested by four opposition leaders, including Darboe and Kandeh. According to a statement from the parties, they were concerned about an “inordinate delay” in the announcement of results.
“We are investigating this matter with our partners to determine our future course of action. At this point in time, we reject the results announced thus far by the IEC. We reserve the right to embark on any course of actions the situation requests to this end all actions are on the table. In the meantime, we call all Gambians to remain calm and peaceful while we continue our investigations of these concerns.” Ousainou Darboe, candidate and head of United Democratic Party (UDP) said
Nearly 860,000 Gambians voted on Saturday, a high number that shows a determination for many to exercise their democratic rights as demands for justice in the post-Yahya Jammeh era rise. Barrow emerged victorious in 2016 as the candidate for an opposition coalition that tested the 22-year rule of Jammeh.
After initially agreeing to step down, Jammeh resisted, and a six-week crisis saw neighboring West African countries prepare to send in troops to stage a military intervention. Jammeh was forced into exile.
Jammeh’s two-decade rule was marked by arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances and summary executions that were revealed through dramatic testimony during Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission hearings that lasted for years.
The commission recently handed its 17-volume report to Barrow, urging him to ensure that perpetrators of human rights violations were prosecuted. Barrow has vowed to fight for justice for the victim
This was the country’s first presidential election in decades that did not include Jammeh, who now lives in exile in Equatorial Guinea after losing the 2016 election and refusing to accept defeat.