Gambians have cast their verdict on their longtime authoritarian ruler Yahya Jammeh in an acrimonious race that had a shocking outcome with the election of President-Elect Adama Barrow.
History has been made not just in Africa, but across the world. For the first time, a dictator has been ousted by the power of the ballot and he concedes.
The Gambian people have spoken, but the narrow victory shows that the nation is divided. It will be up to President-Elect Adama Barrow to unite the people like he did the coalition that brought him to victory.
It is difficult to defeat an incumbent in Africa, and the outside fight against Jammeh from the diaspora was crusaded as their last democratic battle to drive out dictatorship from mainland Africa’s smallest nation.
For the future generation of Gambians, a dictator called Yahya Jammeh will only be read about in history books as President-Elect Barrow promises to establish strong democratic institutions, and restore respect for human rights and the rule of law.
Many strongly believed that Jammeh, who had survived a dozen overthrow attempts, can only be ousted in a coup. Jammeh as well never thought he will be losing an election, and has kept to his promise that if Gambians do not want him and decide to vote him out, he would retire to his farm, although he is likely going to be leaving the country.
Jammeh ruled The Gambia with fear and intimidation. His regime was tyrannical, but today, Gambians rejected fear and choose hope as Barrow won constituency upon constituency.
For the people of The Gambia, a new nation is reborn out of a shocking election and The Gambia is once again the Smiling Coast of Africa.