Barrow to be officially sworn in as Gambia's president

Thousands will attend ceremony in the capital Banjul to witness the first democratic transfer of power in the country.

    Barrow to be officially sworn in as Gambia's president
    The inauguration is the first time the tiny West African country is experiencing a democratic transfer of power [Reuters]

    The Gambia's new president, Adama Barrow, is due to be officially sworn in on the country's independence day.

    President Barrow recently returned home from Senegal, where he was sworn in last month, after longtime ruler Yahya Jammeh refused to step down from power despite losing the presidential election.

    On Saturday, Barrow will take oath as the West African country marks 52 years since it gained its independence from the UK.

    Several heads of state were scheduled to attend the ceremony. 

    Jammeh, who came to power through a military a coup in 1994, went into exile in the Equatorial Guinea after the regional body ECOWAS sent in troops to force him out of office.

    Al Jazeera's Nicolas Haque, reporting from Banjul, said thousands of people have come to the main stadium in the city to attend the ceremony. 

    "It is a very important day for all those who have voted for Barrow. People have been waiting inside the stadium for a long time," he said.

    "The atmosphere is absolutely electric. Barrow's main challenge now is to bring in reforms into the security services. The security services were very loyal to Jammeh."

     Thousands have come to the main stadium in the capital Banjul to attend the inauguration ceremony [Reuters]

    Barrow has pledged to reverse many of Jammeh's actions and has committed to stay in the International Criminal Court and rejoin the Commonwealth. He also has vowed to free political prisoners.

    Barrow, who will be the country's third president, announced last month plans to rename the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), a dreaded secret police accused by rights groups of forced disappearances and torture under the control of Jammeh.

    Saturday's inauguration is the first time the country is experiencing a democratic transfer of power.

    Around 4,000 West African troops remain in the country charged with ensuring safety, as it is believed rogue pro-Jammeh elements remain in the security forces that were once under his personal control.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies


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