Gambian President Barrow swears in first batch of ministers

BANJUL – Gambian President Adama Barrow revealed Wednesday the names of the first batch of some 10 ministers appointed Tuesday and swore them into office.

The ceremony was held at Kairaba Hotel, the temporary office of Barrow, who has yet to occupy the State House, or the presidential palace, which was “sanitized” by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) forces following the forced departure of Barrow’s predecessor Yahya Jammeh.

“This is a new Gambia. The new Gambia is a reality with these cabinet appointments,” Barrow said in the swearing-in ceremony he presided over.

Amie Bojang Sissoho, director of press and public relations, was also sworn in.

Barrow has made a total of 12 appointments so far since his return from Senegal a week ago, The appointees include Vice President Fatoumatta Jallow Tambajang.

Barrow led a coalition of seven political parties and an independent candidate to a shock election victory against longtime President Jammeh, who has now been forced into exile following ECOWAS military intervention.

Almost all the leaders of the parties in the governing coalition have been given ministerial positions, except Halifa Sallah, the head of People’s Democratic Organization for Independence and Socialism, who continued to serve as Barrow’s spokesman.

Ousainou Darboe, Barrow’s ex-boss and long-time leader of former main opposition United Democratic Party, will take charge of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, External Relations and Gambians Abroad.

A seasoned lawyer, Darboe was imprisoned by Jammeh in July 2016, after he protested against the death in custody of Solo Sandeng, his party’s young leader.

Tuesday’s ministerial appointments include only one woman, Dr. Isatou Touray, who became the minister of trade, industry and employment.

In the coalition, the United Democratic Party has a lion’s share of cabinet appointments so far.

Besides Darboe, the party’s former treasurer Amadou Sanneh has been appointed as minister of finance and economic affairs. Lamin Dibba, the party’s chief propagandist, became the minister of lands and regional governments.

Hamat Bah, the leader of National Reconciliation Party, another member of the seven-member governing coalition, has been appointed as the minister of tourism and culture.

Henry Gomez of Gambia Democratic Party took charge of the ministry of youth and sports; Mai Fatty of Gambia Moral Congress became minister of interior affairs; Omar Jallow of Progressive Peoples Party got the position as minister of agriculture; James Gomez has been appointed as the minister of fisheries, water resources and national assembly matters; while Lamin Dibba of National Convention Party became minister of forestry and environment.

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Ben Mabande

Ben Mabande is a researcher and senior contributing reporter with Globe Afrique Media.
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