The Gambia’s new president pledges to reform intelligence agency and government institutions.
The Gambia’s new President Adama Barrow has removed “Islamic” from the official name of his country pledging more reforms in the tiny West African nation. In his first press conference since taking over as leader, Barrow said he would soon be overhauling government institutions to make the administration more effective.
This is coming as Senegalese authorities announced Friday that one of the leading suspects in the abuses of Jammeh’s regime had been arrested.
“The rule of the law, that will be the order of the day,” said Barrow, adding that The Gambia, where Muslims constitute 90% of the population, would no longer be an “Islamic republic”. The word “Islamic” was added to the country’s name in 2015, according to an IBM Times UK report.
Borra Colley, who had been director of the notorious Mile Two prison, was arrested Wednesday while trying to make his way to Guinea-Bissau.
He also had led the Jungulars, Jammeh’s personal military of some 50 officers who reportedly went into exile with him last weekend. Associated Press reports that it was not immediately known why Colley had not joined them.
Calling on the nation to unite, the 51-year-old former businessman promised to develop the country by implementing a series of democratic reforms.
“The field will be level for everybody, and in total reconciliation, if people reconcile, that will unite everybody, and we want to hold that line… My government will look at all areas and there will be a complete overhaul of the system,” said the new leader.
A political crisis gripped The Gambia after Barrow’s predecessor, Yahya Jammeh, the autocratic leader who ruled the African nation for 22 years, refused to step down despite losing the polls in December 2016. Jammeh faces a series of human rights abuse allegations forcing him to go into exile as soon as Barrow took oath from neighbouring Senegal.
Barrow swore by a free media under his rule. He said the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) would soon be reformed and renamed.
Barrow said he would not hesitate to seek other nations’ assistance if needed. He said: “In the army, if we need technical aid, we will contact countries that are willing to help us.”