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.
“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.
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.”