By Kebba Jeffang &Muhammed S. Bah
Adama Barrow, the newly sworn in President of the Republic of Gambia, has finally landed on home soil from the Senegalese capital, Dakar, where he had briefly stayed following the political impasse caused by the former president Yahya Jammeh after refusing to relinquish executive power to his successor who won last month’s election.
The most awaited moment for several Gambians was a busy day at the Banjul International Airport situated in Yundum where thousands of people gathered to welcome the president they voted in power. Several leading Coalition personalities, including the newly appointed Vice-President, Madam Fatoumatta Jallow Tambajang, Spokesperson, Halifa Sallah, Omar Jallow, Ousainou Darboe, Hamat Bah, Dr. Isatou Touray, amongst others, were seen on the ground to welcome President Barrow. Mr. Mohammed Ibn Chambers was also among the dignitaries.
Speaking briefly to journalists, President Barrow said he feels proud to return home peacefully and eager to start work. He described the moment ‘a struggle’ that was finally accomplished in the best interest of the country. He reiterated that they will be setting up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to look into all human rights abuses and mal-administration by the former government but in good faith and without witch-hunting anyone.
He said he will be living at his residence for now and could not tell how long it would take to move to the state house in Banjul.
Meanwhile, security was tightened all over the airport by the armed forces and police, including both ECOWAS forces and the Gambian security forces. Army General Massaneh Kinteh, the recently appointed special military aide to the president as well as CDS General Ousman Badjie and IGP Yankuba Sonko were all present at the arrival ceremony. He was also accompanied by an official from Senegal.
Around 5pm, President Barrow finally landed at the Airport where he inspected a guard of honour mounted by the Gambia armed forces. Due to the large number of cars, Barrow could not easily pass through from the Airport terminal as it took him about an hour to reach the main entrance. A lot of vehicles and individuals were seen walking side by side with the convoy singing and chanting in different languages.
As he arrived an ECOMIG helicopter and a jet fighter were seen flying over the airspace.