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Statement by the President of the Republic of The Gambia
His Excellency Adama Barrow
on his Swearing-in Ceremony in Dakar, Senegal
19th January 2017
Fellow Gambians and friends of The Gambia,
I am humbled to stand before you to address the whole world on this historic occasion. This is a day no Gambian will ever forget in one’s lifetime. This is the first time since The Gambia became Independent in 1965 that Gambians have changed their government through the ballot box. I must take this opportunity to thank the entire electorate of The Gambia and Gambians in the Diaspora for making this day possible. I thank the entire campaign team of Coalition 2016 and the stakeholders for putting aside their political differences to unite us for the national interest.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
Allow me to register special appreciation to Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia, and the Chairperson of Authority of Heads of States of ECOWAS, for her personal commitment and tireless efforts towards resolving the political crises in The Gambia.
The same sentiment goes to H .E Muhammadou Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, H.E Ernest Bai Koroma, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone and H.E John Draman Mahama, former President of Ghana.
I must also express profound gratitude to ECOWAS, AU, the Security Council of the United Nations and all friendly nations who stood by us during our time of greatest need. I wish to thank His Excellency Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal and his government for their hosting and hospitality accorded me and my delegation at the request of the ECOWAS Chair. This is what it means to be part of a Community of Democratic Nations. Exceptional circumstance has compelled me to be sworn here today, and does not permit all those who made this day possible to be present.
It was later realised that the loser of the Election may not fulfill the mandate of a caretaker government and facilitate a proper Inauguration with the full support of all state Agencies.
In fact, two days before the term of office of the incumbent expires, a State of Emergency was declared. However, the Constitution of the Gambia does not permit any lawmaker to deprive a citizen of a right that is already acquired. My right as a winner to be sworn in and assume the Office of President is constitutionally guaranteed and irreversible.
I hereby make a special appeal to ECOWAS, AU and the U.N. particularly the Security Council to support the Government and people of The Gambia in enforcing their will, restore their sovereignty and constitutional legitimacy.
I therefore call on all civilian and military Personnel of the state to support my Presidency since it is built on a Constitutional foundation. They are assured that they will not be subjected to any injustice and discrimination, but would be provided with better working conditions and terms of service.
This is a victory of the Gambian Nation. Our National flag will now fly high among those of the most Democratic Nations of the world. The capacity to effect change through the ballot box has proven that power belongs to the people in The Gambia.
Violent change is banished forever from the political life of our country. All Gambians are therefore winners. There is no loser in the Gambian Election. It is a fact that we contest Elections on the basis of political diversity, but we build Nations on the basis of National Unity. We are here assembled as One Gambia, One Nation and One People.
Throughout our campaign we promised to unify our diverse people so that each would take ownership of the country, irrespective of ethnic origin, religion, gender or any other differences. Today, most Gambians are united in order to give Gambia a new start. Hence, as of today, I am the President of all Gambians regardless of whether you voted for me or not.
We could now become the architects of a Democratic Republic that is built on the pillars of Good Governance, Rule of Law and Respect for Fundamental Rights and Freedoms. My government will implement comprehensive reforms. These include constitutional, institutional and legal reforms to expand the democratic gains we have made.
Your Excellencies, Honourable Guests, fellow Gambians,
I belong to the generation of children who were born in 1965, when The Gambia became Independent. I believe in the wise saying that “to whom much is given, much is expected”.
I established a Think Tank, the Agency for Sustainable Socio-Economic Development (ASSED). This will bring experts on board to share their knowledge and skills in order to put in place an inclusive development agenda.
Your Excellencies, honourable guests and fellow Gambians, I would like to conclude by saying that men and women of this nation joined hands to effect a change that was in the making for many decades. This is a change that should bring liberty and prosperity to everyone, and not to be discriminated on the basis of gender, religion or ethnic origin. We are now determined to build a Gambia where merit and what you know counts more than who you know.
As the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, I call on all personnel of the Armed Forces and other security agencies to remain loyal to the constitution and to the Republic. I command the Chief of Defence Staff, and other officers of the High Command to demonstrate their loyalty to me as their commander-in-chief, without any delay. I command all members of the Armed Forces to remain in their barracks. Those found wanting or in possession of fire arms without my order, shall be considered rebels. Gambia is our homeland! It demands our love and loyalty. Let us all pledge our firm allegiance to be ever true to our motherland The Gambia.
Long Live The Republic
Long Live the United People of The Gambia.
Forward Ever! Backward Never!