Mariama Jack Denton, mainland Africa’s smallest country’s first female lawyer has been sworn-in on Tuesday as Speaker of the House.
Denton was among the five people nominated to parliament by Gambia’s new president, Adama Barrow after his tour earned him the majority he needs to have most of his administration’s policies passed.
She was arrested and detained by forces loyal to Jammeh after presidential guards soldiers thwarted a coup by former army chief, Col. Ndure Cham. She was held at one of Africa’s deadliest prisons, Mile II, on the outskirts of Banjul.
Her father, Sir Alieu Jack was Speaker of the House of Representatives from 1962 to 1972.
“I will do my best to live up to expectations. I shall at all times endeavor to uphold the provisions of the Constitution and the Standing Order of the National Assembly in the performance of my duties as Speaker,” she said.
“I will be impartial as expected and maintain the dignity of the office. I look forward to working with all sides of the Assembly and ensure that the welfare of the people is the priority.”
Denton takes over from Abdoulie Bojang, who was appointed by the former president, Yahya Jammeh. Bojang was accused of joining other APRC nominated members of the parliament to extend the mandate of Jammeh to help him regain control during the two-month political impasse.
Jammeh refused to cede power after losing elections to Barrow, who was backed by seven opposition parties. Regional forces forced Jammeh to flee to Equatorial Guinea, where he took up farming.
Barrow has pledged a truth and reconciliation commission to probe allegations of human rights abuses against Jammeh. Jammeh had for long ignored the parliament, mostly using presidential decrees and executive orders to rule the tiny state.