At least 20 Heads of State mostly from neighboring West African countries will be in mainland Africa’s smallest country for its independence celebration and the inauguration of its new President Adama Barrow.
The Gambia, a former British colony became independent in 1965 with Sir Dawda Jawara as its Prime Minister until 1970, when he became president.
Jawara was ousted in a coup by Lieutenant Yahya Jammeh in 1994. Jammeh was defeated in the polls by businessman Adama Barrow in December.
Jammeh refused to step down after his defeat throwing the country into a political standoff that only ended after West African leaders militarily intervened.
West African leaders in December pledged to attend Mr. Barrow’s inauguration as a sign of the region’s commitment to democracy and the rule of law.
President Barrow was already sworn-in in neighboring Senegal during the political standoff. Jammeh is now in Equatorial Guinea with his family, where he was granted asylum by his Potomac neighbor Theodore Obiang.