Gambia’s new President Adama Barrow used his première at the United Nations to restore a positive image of Gambian leadership in the world.
His speech at the UN General Assembly defined the nation, not by the threats and dangers poised to opposition activists, but by the security, opportunity, and dignity that Gambians voted for in last year’s elections.
Barrow’s predecessor, Yahya Jammeh used his UN addresses to lash out at the West, threaten to behead gays, dramatically switch his foreign policy and just make his citizens bury their head in their hands.
Barrow spoke of the reforms his administration is undertaking in The Gambia vowing to address the injustices and abuses of the Jammeh regime.
The Gambia is set to set up a truth commission that will probe human rights abuses under Mr. Jammeh. At least two dozen soldiers have been arrested and several mass graves unearthed.
“Like any restored democracy, we are facing enormous challenges in the revival of our economy, a comprehensive reform of our laws, our administrative and judicial institutions,” Barrow said.
“The modernization of our security sector, consolidation of the rule of law and human rights are part of our reform program. It is only by overcoming these challenges that we can reinforce our democratic gains and my Government is committed to delivering a New Gambia that is fit for our children to be proud of.”
Gambia nearly glided into civil war after Jammeh refused to cede power to Mr. Barrow. West African forces had to step into force Jammeh into exile to Equatorial Guinea.
Barrow’s shock win of the Gambian election heralded a new hope and dawn for the country, which Jammeh had ruled with an iron fist for 22 years and drowned into isolation.
Barrow’s coming to power saw Gambia’s development partners unfreezing withheld foreign aid and lifting the lid on the political isolation of the country. Tuesday’s UN speech further cemented the progress.
Gambians are showing delight at Mr. Barrow’s maiden UN address, expressing how proud they are of their new leader for finally restoring the country’s dignity in the family of nations.
Many Gambian believe that under President Adama Barrow, they will have a country that they will love and are proud of, and for them, restoring the country’s image in the international community is the beginning of it.