President elect Adama Barrow, has said that his incoming administration is not out for witch hunting, revenge or to settle scores with Gambians, especially outgoing Gambian dictator Yahya Jammeh. Mr. Barrow, who was speaking in an exclusive interview with TFM, a Dakar based television station noted that if the former President of the First Republic Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara, can stay peacefully in The Gambia, why not his predecessor Yahya Jammeh. Mr. Barrow used the TFM interview to assure dictator Yahya Jammeh and Gambians in general about his administration’s commitment and determination to guarantee Mr. Jammeh’s safety and peaceful retirement as a private Gambian citizen once he assumes the Presidency sometime in January.
“ Yahya Jammeh is a Gambian citizen like any other Gambian. My administration will ensure that he lives in this country peacefully as a private citizen. If the former President Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara can live in this country peacefully, why not Yahya Jammeh? The Gambia is bigger than Yahya Jammeh and my humble self. Jammeh will continue to stay here as a private citizen. We will consult him if we need advice from him in the future,” Mr. Barrow said.
Speaking in the Wolof local dialect, Mr. Barrow, maintains that his administration is not here to oppress Gambians.
“We are not here to settle scores. We do not hate anyone. We are not here to target or witch hunt anyone. We will investigate what has transpired here in the past. Once the investigative report is out, we will implement it. The government will protect its citizens. There will be rule of law in The Gambia. There will be no compromise when it comes to the respect for the rule of law and justice. My administration will protect the rights and liberties of all Gambians,” Mr. Barrow added.
Regarding the three years transitional timetable put in place by the opposition alliance, the Real Estate Developer admitted that it is true some governments in Africa, have been reputed to be abdicating or violating its own promises to its people, when it comes to term limit for the Presidency. In the case of The Gambia, he said, it is going to be an exception. He promised to hand over power once his three years mandate ends.
“I am a contended person. It took them two months before I accepted their proposal to serve as my party’s flag bearer. I am here for The Gambia, and nothing else,” said Mr. Barrow.
Mr. Barrow noted: “To have a functional transition team, the alliance has given priority to appoint competent Gambians for cabinet positions.” He also said the policies and programs governing the respective appointments would be highlighted in a policy document for the upcoming administration.
“That way, people appointed to serve in my cabinet will not have to second guest on issues relating to their job. The policy document will serve as a guideline for Ministries,” he added.
Commenting on the need to enhancing Gambia’s bilateral ties with neighboring Senegal, Mr. Barrow said The Gambia is going to be Senegal’s number one ally on day one of his Presidency. He observed that given the geographical proximity of the two sister nations, and cultural diversity, it would be in the best interest of the two nations to live in peace and harmony.
“I am going to reaffirm my recent statements: The Gambia should endeavor to befriend all peace-loving nations around the world. That said, Senegal being our neighbor, under my administration we will make sure that Senegal is going to be our number one ally. We share the same borders. Charity begins at home. Before befriending other countries, why not our next-door neighbors; Senegal? Both countries stand to benefit from our friendship,” he noted.
“Macky Sall is the first President to call and congratulate me. He told me that he heard that I can speak Fulla. And I replied in the affirmative. I told him that my mum is a Fulla. We spoke in Fulla. Senegal is going to be the first country, that I will be visiting when I got sworn in. I am a new President. Macky has more experience than me. I would need his guidance and advise,” President elect Barrow said.
Mr. Barrow also talked about visiting the religious town of Touba, Senegal, before the campaign trail has begun. He describes himself as a follower of the religious Sheikh of Touba.
“I will also visit the Kalif of Touba during my upcoming trip to Senegal. I visited him prior to the campaign. He prayed for me. He also checked on me prior to the elections. He even sent an envoy during the campaign to lend his support to us,” he said.
Mr. Barrow won the December, 1st Presidential elections. He defeated longtime incumbent Gambian dictator Yahya Jammeh. Mr. Jammeh has since conceded defeat. He promises to hand over power to Mr. Barrow in January.
Written By Pa Nderry M’Bai