Gambia’s President Adama Barrow who is due to be inaugurated has defended the purpose of his so-called joint-transition committee, which included ministers from the country former autocratic ruler’s regime.
Barrow sparked outrage when his cabinet met with Jammeh ministers on Wednesday for an official transfer of policy documents and important government files for continuity of governance.
The Gambia found itself in a political standoff after ex-President Yahya Jammeh refused to cede power. It impeded a formal handing over of power, which many were looking forward to when Jammeh first accepted defeat before making a political fumble with his sudden u-turn a week later.
Barrow said the stalemate has seriously affected the functioning of his administration.
“This is to make sure there is institutional continuity of knowledge and experience. This requires two sides to work on a transitional programme. The political stalemate after the December 2016 election made it impossible to have a proper handing over. No formal hand-over was undertaken between the government of ex-President Jammeh and my current Government,” Barrow said.
Out of safety concerns, Barrow was taken out of the country and stayed in Senegal, where he was sworn-in at the Gambian embassy.
Most of Jammeh’s ministers resigned just days before his mandate expired.
But the sight of them with the coalition government after a visit by Interior Minister Mai Ahmad Fatty and Justice Minister Aboubacarr Baa Tambadou to an inhumane detention center on the outskirts of Banjul was ‘insulting and disrespectful to victims and their families,’ activists say.
Barrow has promised a truth commission, whose recommendation he said he will fully implement. He insists that his government will follow the rule of law and as a result is unable to act on some of the allegations unless a full investigation is completed.
At least 30 people still remain missing, according to rights campaigners. Interior Minister Mai Ahmad Fatty said last week that authorities will probe the missing persons cases and bring those found wanting to justice.