INAUGURAL ADDRESS OF H.E. ADAMA BARROW PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE GAMBIA

 

19th January 2017

Fellow Gambians and friends of The Gambia, I am humbled to stand before you to address the whole world on this historic occasion. This is a day no Gambian will ever forget in one’s life time. This is the first time since Gambia became Independent in 1965 that a transfer of Executive power from an Outgoing President to an Incoming President through the ballot box is taking place.

I must take this opportunity to thank the entire electorate of the Gambia for making this day possible. I must also express profound gratitude to the Heads of State of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union, the Security Council of the United Nations and all friendly nations who stood by us during our time of greatest need. This is what it means to be part of a Community of Democratic Nations.

Exceptional circumstance has compelled me to be sworn in at a place that does not permit all those who made this day possible to be present.

It was later realised that the loser of the Election may not fulfill the mandate of a caretaker government and facilitate a proper Inauguration with the full support of all state Agencies.

In fact, two days before the term of office of the incumbent expires a State of Emergency was declared. However, the Constitution of the Gambia does not permit any law maker to deprive a citizen of a right that is already acquired. My right as a victor to be sworn in and assume the Office of President is constitutionally guaranteed and irreversible. I therefore call on all civilian and military Personnel of the state to support my Presidency since it is built on a Constitutional foundation.  They are assured that they will not be subjected to any injustice and discrimination but would be provided with better working conditions and terms of service.

This is a victory of the Gambian Nation. Our National flag will now fly high among those of the most Democratic Nations of the world. The capacity to effect change through the ballot box has proven that power belongs to the people in the Gambia. Violent change is banished forever from the political life of our country. All Gambians are therefore winners. There is no loser in the Gambian Election. It is a fact that we contest Elections on the basis of political diversity but we build Nations on the basis of National Unity and Cohesion. We are here assembled as One Gambia, One Nation, and One People. Throughout our campaign we promised to unify our diverse people so that each would take ownership of the country, irrespective of ethnic origin, religion, gender or any other differences. Today, most Gambians are united in aim to give Gambia a new start. Hence, as of today, I am the President of all Gambians regardless of whether you voted for me or not.

We could now become the architects of a Secular Democratic Republic that is built on the pillars of Good Governance, Rule of Law and Respect for Fundamental Rights and Freedoms.

Constitutional and legal reforms will expand the democratic gains we have made. Such reforms will enable political parties to contest on a level political landscape. Civil service, salary, pension, tax and social security reviews would be done to improve working conditions and income as well as address other challenges.

Both the state and non-state media would be free to broadcast divergent views and dissenting opinions. Self-Regulation in promotion of ethical conduct and professionalism in media practice shall be encouraged.

Prison reform would be given a priority to ensure that the institution serves as a correctional centre fit for preparing people for normal life outside of prison. There will be no detentions without trial.

I would like to assure all of you that due process shall be respected and the Independence and Impartiality of the Judiciary guaranteed at all times without any encroachment by my administration.

The legislature would also enjoy its Independence as the key oversight institution that would safeguard the interest of the people. The separation of powers will be recognised.

Your Excellencies, Honourable Guests, dear Compatriots, I belong to the generation of children who were born in 1965 when The Gambia became Independent. I do agree with the wise saying that “to whom much is given, much is expected”.

My first priority as President of the Gambia is the children of the Gambia and their mothers. The Government under my Presidency will strive to ensure the survival, protection and development of all children. I will partner with ECOWAS, AU, the UN, other traditional development partners like the US, the EU, UK and new development partners to improve on infant and maternal health and wellbeing to reduce maternal and infant mortality. We will improve nutrition, sanitation, access to clean drinking water and ensure that primary health care is accessible and affordable to all from the village to urban centres.

The law of the land instructs that basic education shall be free, accessible and compulsory. All Gambian children must go to school at the expense of the state. The Gambia under my presidency will respect the dictate of the Constitution and work with our development partners to make free education a reality.

The Provision of quality social services is the fundamental objective of the government under my Presidency. This would require robust and sustainable Macro Economic stability and growth. This is the primary objective of the Government. This is why I established a Think Tank, The Agency for Sustainable Socio-Economic Development (ASSED) and charged it with the task of establishing an expert bank that would bring all experts on board to share their knowledge and skills in order to put in place an inclusive development agenda.

Agriculture would be given added support to move towards food security and growth in export. The objective would be to enhance self-employment and increase in income through agricultural production. The Oil Mill, its transportation and storage infrastructure would be rehabilitated.

Industrial production shall be expanded to include robust development of the mining sector and the processing of raw materials into value added goods.

The energy sector would be improved, port facilities, road infrastructure, river transport and other services developed to attract foreign direct investment at a larger scale.

The service sector, which is now the largest contributor to the Economy, will be given full support so that Gambia based  Banks, Insurance companies, Housing and telecommunication networks would be able to develop partnerships in Africa and all over the globe to enable the people to have employment and income fit for better lives.

Your Excellencies, honourable guests and fellow Compatriots, I would like to conclude by saying that men and women of this nation joined hands to effect a change that was in the making for many decades. This is a change that should bring liberty and prosperity to everyone’s door step. Hence, we should remain united as men and women with a vision to build a Gambia that will allow each to develop one’s capacity to the fullest and not be discriminated on the basis of gender, religion or ethnic origin. We are now determined to build a Gambia where merit and what you know counts more than who you know.

Gambia is our homeland! It demands our love and loyalty. Let us all pledge our firm allegiance to be ever true to our mother land The Gambia.

Long Live The Republic

Long Live the United People of The Gambia

Forward Ever! Backward Never!