By Ousman Sillah
A sense of liberation is being felt by the majority of Gambians across the country after the voters decided to end the self-perpetuating rule of President Yahya Jammeh at the 1 December 2016 presidential poll.
Tens of thousands of people of different age categories and gender, who are mostly youths, have flocked the main streets in the urban and peri urban areas in a jubilant mood celebrating the electoral defeat of President Jammeh by Mr. Adama Barrow, the Independent Candidate supported by the coalition of opposition parties.
Barrow, a property company owner, was declared the winner a day after voters cast their ballot in an upset victory that astonished observers.
They welcomed the departure of President Jammeh, who has been in power for the past 22 years. President Jammeh’s regime was characterized by a deficit in democratic good governance, rule of law, repressive media laws, lack of freedom of expression, unlawful arrests and detentions.
“I am so happy that Gambians at long last have decided to remove him from power. Now there will be no more unlawful arrests and disappearances of people. We are free at last,” said Assan Jobe, a middle aged man, who joined the jubilant throngs in the streets of Banjul.
President Jammeh’s regime was also blamed for driving many young Gambians out of the country, often migrating through the Mediterranean Sea into Europe, called the “back way”, in search of better economic opportunities.
According to a report by the delegation of the European Union Parliamentarians visiting the Gambia in August 2016, said Gambian nationals proportionately constitute the largest group in the whole of Africa that immigrates to Europe using this perilous route.