Jammeh and Barrow’s teams seem to have put their political differences aside and put the political standoff behind them in their first meeting to official have power transferred to the new administration.
It is clear, however, that the Barrow administration is very different from Jammeh’s. It’s standard practice and democratic values were not embraced by the former autocratic ruler.
On Wednesday, senior Jammeh cabinet members led by ex-Vice President Isatou Njie-Saidy hand over officially to Barrow’s cabinet led by Vice President Fatoumata Tambajang.
“No formal handing over was undertaken between the government of ex-president Jammeh and my government, Barrow said. “This has seriously affected the functioning of the administration and the lives of thousands of citizens.”
President Barrow is still announcing his cabinet picks but Jammeh’s Foreign Minister Neneh MacDouall-Gaye, Health Minister Omar Sey, Trade Minister Abdou Jobe, Education Minister Fatou Lamin Faye, Information Minister Sheriff Bojang, Youth Minister Abdoulie K. Jammeh were among former ministers who handed over to the new government.
Barrow’s oversight committee have delivered lists of three potential nominees for ministerial positions yet to be announced. Barrow is not retaining any of the former Jammeh ministers.
Jammeh had taken a number of unilateral actions in the waning days of his tenure that appear designed to box in President Barrow.
The transition period, which is for 60 days faced challenges after President Yahya Jammeh refused to cede power. A regional force had to be deployed scaring him to flee to Equatorial Guinea.
Although President Barrow is pro-reconciliation and pledged a truth commission, the appearance of Jammeh’s cabinet with his has angered many, who labeled the former officials as ‘criminals’ who orchestrated ‘crimes against humanity’ on Gambians.
But Barrow says the absence of the symbolic transfer of power has damaged the image of the country and created fear and panic in the people, two factors he hopes Wednesday’s meeting will help end.