Vice President Fatoumata Tambajang took the oath of office on Thursday at a public ceremony in Banjul to serve as the No. 2 to President Adama Barrow for the next five years.
Tambajang was sworn-in in front of family and friends in a ceremony at The State House. Vice President Tambajang took the oath placing her hand on the Holy Koran, marking the start of a new beginning for her.
“The Democratic process has matured in The Gambia and we are committed to nurturing it towards its wiser years. For two solid decades, our nation has faced enormous challenges as a result of bad governance of a dictatorial regime of President Yahya Jammeh, which we, as a peace-loving people, have fought against in a matured and resilient way,” Tambajang said.
“Today, our county, The Gambia embarks on a new democratic journey. Our inspired, talented, ingenious and patriotic fellow Gambians, are ready to work with our Government to transform our country into a democratic model in the world through national constitutional, political, legal, economic, social, security reform agenda.”
About a year ago, Tambajang was leading an opposition protest against Jammeh’s regime and negotiating between the fractured opposition to unite against Jammeh. It led to Barrow’s nomination as the Coalition presidential hopeful.
The Coalition defeated Jammeh, who was forced into exile after refusing to step aside. Barrow’s naming of Tambajang just after the political logjam ended faced opposition from pro-democracy campaigners that said her age barred her from assuming office.
Gambia’s parliament in July voted to repeal and replaced the upper age limit paving the way for Thursday’s swearing-in. Tambajang had pledged to push for economic, social and educational reforms, an agenda she had been particular about in the 11 months that she has been overseeing the vice presidency.
“As the Vice President of this great nation, a great task awaits me but, having performed well in the interest of our country under your leadership, during past 11 months, has deepened knowledge and strengthened my capacity to deliver the tasks,” she said.
“I have come to learn that with each great challenge that comes on my desk, my strive to direct things as they should soars. I am more than ever determined to work harder and smarter than I have ever done in my life, to support you, your Excellency and my cabinet colleagues in transforming our country, The Gambia a Beacon of Hope for Africa and the world at large.”
Tambajang is the second female vice-president of The Gambia after long-serving African female vice president, Isatou Njie Saidy resigned from office on January 19, the day her APRC regime’s mandate ended. They are both from Brikama, the biggest city in the country’s southwest.
Tambajang is a former Gambian health minister and UN official who worked in war-torn African nations where she was once held, hostage.
She was against former President Yahya Jammeh leaving the country warning against the former leader’s capability to start an insurgency.
Tambajang has supported calls for the Gambia’s return to the Commonwealth and International Criminal Court, institutions that Jammeh unilaterally withdrew the Gambia from. The Barrow Administration has since returned to both institutions.