Real estate developer and United Democratic Party candidate Adama Barrow is the new president of Gambia. According to the BBC, the country’s Independent Electoral Commission announced that Barrow won the December 1st presidential election with 263, 515 votes, while incumbent President Yahyeh Jammeh received 212, 099 votes.
Barrow’s victory comes as a shock to many who didn’t expect him to unseat Jammeh, who has been in power for the last 22 years.
Jammeh conceded on December 2nd and has initiated a peaceful handover.
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A Vote For Change
Jammeh took power in 1994 after leading a military coup that overthrew the then-President Dawda Jawara.
Serving as the second Lieutenant in the National Army, Jammeh led a group of officers in taking control of key public facilities in the capital city, Banjul, forcing President Jawara out of office.
The country’s civil society groups have often accused the 51-year-old President of repression and human rights abuses.
In 2008, Jammeh announced his plan to introduce a law against homosexuality, promising that the law would be stricter than those in Iran and that he would cut off the head of any gay or lesbian person discovered in the country.
The young president has also been quoted saying that he can cure AIDS and infertility and that he hopes to rule a billion years as per the will of God.
Human Rights Watch notes that disobedience of Gambia’s government during the past two decades often lead to punishment, which included forced disappearances, torture, and unlawful detention.
He also created oppressive media laws such as the 2013 Information and Communications Act. which stifled freedom of expression.