Born in Mankamang Kunda, a village near Basse Santa Su, he attended Crab Island Secondary School and the Muslim High School, the latter on a scholarship. He then worked for Alhagie Musa & Sons, a Gambian energy company, where he became a sales manager. Moving to London in the early 2000s, Barrow studied for qualifications in real estate and concurrently worked as a security guard. After returning to the Gambia in 2006, he founded Majum Real Estate, and was its CEO until 2016. He became the treasurer of the United Democratic Party, an opposition party, and then became its leader in September 2016 after the previous leader was jailed. Barrow was then chosen as the UDP candidate in the 2016 presidential election. It was later announced that he would stand as an independent with the backing of the opposition group Coalition 2016 (a coalition supported by the UDP and six other parties).
Barrow won the 2016 presidential election with 43.34% of the vote, defeating long-time incumbent Yahya Jammeh. Jammeh initially accepted the result, but later reneged on this, and Barrow was forced to flee to neighbouring Senegal. He was inaugurated at the Gambian embassy in Senegal on 19 January 2017, and Jammeh was forced to leave the Gambia and go into exile on 21 January. Barrow returned to the Gambia on 26 January.
|3rd President of the Gambia|
|Assumed office |
19 January 2017[i]
|Vice President||Fatoumata Tambajang|
|Preceded by||Yahya Jammeh|
|Born||16 February 1965|
Mankamang Kunda, Gambia
|Political party||United Democratic Party|
|Children||5 (including 1 deceased)|
Barrow was born on 16 February 1965 in Mankamang Kunda, a small village near Basse Santa Su, two days before the Gambia achieved independence from the United Kingdom. He is the son of Mamudu Barrow and Kaddijatou Jallow. He attended the local Koba Kunda primary school, and then Crab Island Secondary School in Banjul. He then received a scholarship to study at the Muslim High School. After leaving school, he worked for Alhagie Musa & Sons, a Gambian energy company, and rose through the ranks to become a sales manager. In the early 2000s, he moved to London where he studied for qualifications in real estate. Concurrently, he worked as a security guard at a local Argos store in order to finance his studies. He later described these experiences as formative, saying "Life is a process, and the UK helped me to become the person I am today. Working 15 hours a day builds a man."
Barrow returned to the Gambia following his graduation. In 2006, he established Majum Real Estate, and from 2006 to 2016 was the chief executive officer (CEO) of the company. Barrow started his political career with the National Reconciliation Party (NRP) headed by his current Minister of Tourism and Culture, Hamat Bah together with the current Gambia Democratic Congress (GDC) leader, Mamma Kandeh. However, in 2007, he parted ways with the NRP and joined the UDP when Bah advised him not to contest against their former colleague Mamma Kandeh who had cross-carpeted to the ruling APRC. Barrow lost the election to Kandeh and maintain a low profile until his election as President of The Gambia in 2016.
On 30 October 2016, Barrow was chosen by a coalition of seven opposition parties as their endorsed candidate for the 2016 Gambian presidential election. Prior to becoming a candidate for the presidency, Barrow had not previously held any elected office, but he had been the treasurer of the United Democratic Party (UDP). He resigned from the UDP on 3 November in order to contest the election as an independent, with the full backing of Coalition 2016.
During the campaign, he promised to return the Gambia to its membership of the Commonwealth of Nations and the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. He also promised to reform security forces, pledging to increase professionalism and separate them from politics. He also said that he would set up a temporary transition government formed of members from the opposition coalition and would step down within three years.
Initially, Jammeh indicated that a smooth handover of power would take place. However, on Friday 9 December, in a television broadcast, he declared that he "totally" rejected the result of the election. This was met with both national and international outcry. The UN Security Council called on Jammeh to "respect the choice of the sovereign people of The Gambia" and the African Union declared Jammeh's statement "null and void"; Jammeh's refusal to step down was criticised by the United States, neighbouring Senegal, ECOWAS, and others. Fearing for his safety, Barrow left the Gambia to Senegal while urging Jammeh to step down. Jammeh appealed his loss in the election to the Supreme Court. When the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court declared that the court would not be able consider the case for at least four more months, Jammeh declared a state of emergency to try prevent Barrow from being sworn in as president.
Barrow was then sworn in as President of the Gambia at the Gambian embassy in Dakar, Senegal, on 19 January 2017. On the same day, military forces from Senegal, Nigeria and Ghana entered the Gambia in an ECOWAS military intervention involving land, sea, and air forces to compel Jammeh to leave. The military forces of the Gambia did not oppose the intervention, which only met with isolated minor clashes near Jammeh's hometown of Kanilai. ECOWAS halted the incursion after only a few hours and gave Jammeh his last chance to step down. On 21 January, Jammeh left the Gambia for an ECOWAS-arranged exile, paving the way for the transition of power.
On 26 January, Barrow returned to the Gambia, while about 2,500 ECOWAS troops remained there to stabilise the country. Barrow asked for the ECOWAS troops to stay for six months. A crowd in the hundreds were waiting at Banjul International Airport to welcome him home. Barrow was also greeted by military officials and members of the coalition government.
On 28 January 2017, Barrow announced that his cabinet choices would have to declare their assets before taking up their posts. 10 of the 18 ministers were sworn in on 1 February, at a ceremony at Kairaba Beach Hotel, Barrow's temporary residence. Among the appointments, the critical roles of Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs were filled by Ousainou Darboe and Amadou Sanneh, respectively. The Gambia's first female presidential candidate Isatou Touray was appointed as Minister of Trade, Regional Integration and Employment, and former exile Mai Ahmed Fatty was appointed as Minister of the Interior. Ba Tambadou was appointed as Minister of Justice and Attorney General but was not present to be sworn in.
The Point noted the absence of any members of coalition party PDOIS, contrary to the coalition agreement, and it was announced that further appointments would be technocrats, not politicians. Also, Amie Bojang Sissoho, a feminist activist, was appointed as Director of Press and Public Relations for the Office of the President.
On 28 January 2017, Barrow announced that the official long-form name of The Gambia would be reverted from Islamic Republic of The Gambia to Republic of The Gambia, reverting a change made by Jammeh in 2015. He also said that he would ensure freedom of the press in the country. On 14 February, Gambia began the process of returning to its membership of the Commonwealth of Nations.
In his inaugural address on February 18, 2017, Barrow announced that he had ordered the release of all persons detained without trial under the repressive regime of Jammeh. A total of 171 prisoners held in Gambia's infamous 2 Mile Prison were set free. Barrow also pledged to have the Gambia end human rights violations and join the International Criminal Court. On 23 March, Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou announced that a Truth and Reconciliation Commission and offer reparations to victims of former President Yahya Jammeh's government.
He also dismissed General Ousman Badjie, the Chief of the Defence Staff, along with 10 other senior staffers in February 2017. Badjie was replaced by former chief of staff Masaneh Kinteh. David Colley, the director of the prison system was also dismissed and arrested along with 9 men suspected of being members of Jungulars, an alleged death squad under Yahya Jammeh.
A few hours after his maiden speech at UN General Assembly, Barrow on 21 September 2017 signed a treaty abolishing death penalty as part of Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. He also signed the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, the United Nations Convention on Transparency in Treaty-Based Investor-State Arbitration and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
On 28 January 2017, Barrow announced that he would rename and restructure the country's intelligence agency, the National Intelligence Agency, pointing out its association with the oppressive regime of Yahya Jammeh. He said the NIA was "an institution that has to continue", but added "the rule of the law, that will be the order of the day". He said that additional training would be given to NIA operatives. On 31 January, Barrow announced that the NIA would be called the State Intelligence Services (SIS). The next day, he fired the NIA Director General, Yankuba Badjie, and replaced him with former NIA Deputy Director Musa Dibba. Barrow also stripped the NIA of its law enforcement functions and temporarily occupied all NIA detention centres with police officers. As part of Barrow's reforms, former head of NIA Yankuba Badjie and director of operations Sheikh Omar Jeng who are accused of human rights violations were arrested on 20 February and were being investigated for potential abuses of power.
The ban on gambling enforced by Jammeh was lifted by him in May 2017, in an effort to attract investors and create employment opportunities. He appointed Landing Kinteh as the new Inspector General of Police (IGP), removing Yankuba Sonko who was appointed by President Jammeh in 2010, with Sonko being redeployed to foreign and diplomatic missions. The Deputy Inspector General of Police Ousman Sowe was demoted to commissioner and was replaced by another commissioner Mamud Jobe. Former Director General of Immigration Service Buba Sangnia who had been convicted during Jammeh's presidency for charge of abuse was reinstated to his position.
In February 2017, one of Barrow's first foreign policy actions was to overturn the decision made by Jammeh in October 2016 to leave the International Criminal Court. The process was formalised by a letter sent by the Minister of Foreign Affairs on 10 February, with the government expressing its commitment "to the promotion of human rights", and to "the principles enshrined in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court".
He has been reported to be a member of the Fula ethnic group, which is the second largest ethnic group in the Gambia (the largest being the Mandinka). He has also been reported to be Mandinka, based on his father's ethnicity, but more identified with Fulas in social and cultural terms. However a local radio interview by Saja Sey with his sister in Bansang confirm that they are fula. She revealed that their grandfather originated from Futa Toro Senegal. Barrow himself declared in a meeting in Niamina West that he is a fula. He grew up speaking the Fula language in a village and district that are primarily Fula, and both of his wives are Fula.
When asked about the topic and his views on what he envisions for the Gambia, he said he has mixed ethnic background and that he is not a tribalist:
It would be an inclusive country where tribalism will not have a place. I am the least tribalist person you will ever see. I have mixed ethnic blood in me. I am a Sarahule, Mandinka and Fula. Two of my sisters from the same mum and dad are married to Jolas. So tribe is not important. What is important is that we are all Gambians and should unite and work for the progress of our country.
Barrow is a devout Muslim and says that his faith guides his life and politics. He practices polygamy and has two wives, Fatoumatta Bah and Sarjo Mballow. Both wives are from the Fula ethnic group. With his wives, he has four living children. Habibu Barrow, his eight-year-old son, died after being bitten by a dog on 15 January 2017. Barrow could not attend his son's funeral because he was in Senegal for security reasons, following ECOWAS recommendations.
| President of the Gambia
Presidential elections were held in the Gambia on 1 December 2016. In a surprise result, opposition candidate Adama Barrow defeated long-term incumbent Yahya Jammeh. The election marked the first change of presidency in The Gambia since a military coup in 1994, and the first transfer of power by popular election since independence from the United Kingdom in 1965.On 2 December, before the final results were announced, Jammeh graciously conceded defeat, shocking a populace that had expected him to retain power. BBC News called it "one of the biggest election upsets West Africa has ever seen". The final official results showed Barrow winning a 43.3% plurality, achieving a 3.7% margin of victory over Jammeh's 39.6% – with a third candidate, Mama Kandeh, receiving 17.1% of the votes. Following the election, 19 opposition prisoners were released, including Ousainou Darboe, the leader of Barrow's United Democratic Party (UDP). There was widespread celebration of the result by the opposition, along with some caution over whether the transition would proceed without incident.
However, on 9 December, Jammeh announced that he was rejecting the results and called for a new election, sparking a constitutional crisis. Troops were deployed in Banjul, the capital city, and Serekunda, the country's largest city. Jammeh's rejection of the results was condemned by several internal and external bodies, including the Gambia bar association, the Gambia teachers' union, the Gambia Press Union, the University of The Gambia, the Gambia medical association, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union (AU), and the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). The situation further escalated, despite extensive diplomatic efforts that included the personal involvement of several African heads of state, until a
military intervention by armed forces from several nearby ECOWAS countries. Finally, on 21 January, Jammeh left the Gambia for an ECOWAS-arranged exile, allowing the transition of power to take place. According to the Senegalese government and the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, during the dispute around 45,000 people fled to Senegal and at least another 800 people fled to Guinea-Bissau.2016–17 Gambian constitutional crisis
A constitutional crisis in the Gambia started after the presidential elections on 1 December 2016, and ended with the outgoing president Yahya Jammeh being forced to step down in favour of his elected successor Adama Barrow on 21 January 2017, after resistance.
Although long-serving incumbent President Yahya Jammeh initially accepted the surprising victory of Adama Barrow, he rejected the election results eight days later. Jammeh called for the election to be annulled and appealed to the Supreme Court. Troops were subsequently deployed in the capital Banjul and Serekunda.
After ECOWAS delegates failed to persuade Jammeh to step down, a coalition of military forces from Senegal, Nigeria, and Ghana invaded the Gambia on 19 January 2017 to compel him to relinquish power. Two days later, Jammeh surrendered presidential duties in favour of Barrow and left the country to exile in Equatorial Guinea.2017 Gambian parliamentary election
Parliamentary elections were held in the Gambia on 6 April 2017. They were first parliamentary elections since the inauguration of Adama Barrow as President and resulted in a landslide victory for the United Democratic Party, which won 31 of the 53 seats.2017 in the Gambia
The following lists events in the year 2017 in the Gambia.Cabinet of Adama Barrow
Following his victory in the presidential election on 1 December 2016, the newly elected President Adama Barrow appointed a new cabinet to succeed the cabinet of Yahya Jammeh, his predecessor. Barrow was formally inaugurated on 19 January 2017 at the embassy of the Gambia in Dakar, Senegal, and was able to return the Gambia on 26 January. He made the bulk of appointments in February 2017, and conducted a major reshuffle in June 2018.Cabinet of the Gambia
The Cabinet of The Gambia is responsible for advising the President of The Gambia and for carrying out other functions as prescribed by law. It is composed of the President, the Vice-President, and the Secretaries of State. It is responsible for regulating the procedure of its own meetings and is held accountable for its actions by the National Assembly, according to Sections 74 and 75 of the Constitution of The Gambia.The current Cabinet of The Gambia is the Cabinet of Adama Barrow, led by President Adama Barrow.Coalition 2016
Gambia Coalition 2016, was a coalition of seven Gambian political parties, Civil society group and one independent candidate created to field and support a unity candidate for the Gambian opposition in the 2016 Gambian presidential election. The coalition selected real estate developer and deputy treasurer (and Presidential candidate) of the United Democratic Party (UDP) Adama Barrow as their candidate. Barrow officially left the UDP to allow him to run as an independent candidate, although his candidacy continued to be supported by the UDP through its membership in the coalition.Apart from the United democratic party (UDP) the other parties in the coalition were the People's Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism (PDOIS), the National Reconciliation Party (NRP), the Gambia Moral Congress (GMC), the National Convention Party (NCP), the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) and the Gambia Party for Democracy and Progress (GPDP). The independent female candidate and anti-female genital mutilation activist Dr Isatou Touray and a civil society group headed by Fatoumatta Tambajang also joined the coalition.Constitution of the Gambia
The Constitution of The Gambia is the supreme law of The Gambia.
The Gambia became a nation independent from the colonial rule of the British Empire in 1965 and adopted a constitution. The constitution was suspended by a military coup d'état in 1994. A revised constitution that came into effect in January 1997 then marked an official return to civilian control of the government, although the leader of the coup, Yahya Jammeh, remained in power as President for another 20 years and exercised strong de facto personal control over the country.Following the presidential election of 2016, there was a constitutional crisis after Jammeh rejected the official results of the election and refused to step down. He was then ejected from power by a military intervention by nations of the ECOWAS regional alliance, allowing the new president, Adama Barrow, to enter the office in January 2017.ECOWAS military intervention in the Gambia
The ECOWAS military intervention in the Gambia or the ECOWAS Mission in The Gambia (abbreviated ECOMIG) – code-named Operation Restore Democracy – is an ongoing military intervention in the Gambia by several West African countries. The intervention was launched to resolve a breakdown of internal order in the government of the Gambia that resulted from a dispute over the country's presidency. The dispute had led to a constitutional crisis in the country. The intervention began in January 2017, and in June 2017, the term of the ECOWAS military mission was extended by a year.
The brief period of open conflict at the beginning of the mission was precipitated by the refusal to step down from power of Yahya Jammeh, the long-standing President of the Gambia, after he disputed the victory of Adama Barrow in the 2016 presidential election.
As a result of the intervention, Jammeh was forced to step down and go into exile two days after the initial military incursion. Following his departure, 4,000 ECOWAS troops remained in the Gambia to maintain order in preparation for Barrow to return and consolidate his presidency. Five days later, Barrow returned to the Gambia while requesting the ECOWAS troops (now numbering about 2,500) to stay for at least six months to help him firmly establish order. Although there were a few reports of isolated minor clashes during the first few hours of the military incursion, there were no reports of casualties in the initial conflict. In the following months, two people have been reported killed and about ten injured in incidents surrounding protests against the continued military presence in the community.Gambia Armed Forces
The Gambia Armed Forces, also known as the Armed Forces of The Gambia, consists of three branches: the Gambia National Army (GNA), the Gambia Navy, and the Republican National Guards (RNG). It formerly included the Gambia National Gendarmerie (GNG) from the 1980s to 1996, when they were moved under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of the Interior. The commander-in-chief is the President of the Gambia who is currently Adama Barrow, whereas practical control is exercised by the Chief of the Defence Staff who is currently Lieutenant General Masaneh Kinteh.Human rights in the Gambia
Human rights in the Gambia have been considered poor under Yahya Jammeh. In December, 2016, he lost an election to Adama Barrow, who promised to improve human rights in his country. The "Freedom in the World" report for 2018 ranked the Gambia as "partly free". LGBT activity was illegal, and punishable with life imprisonment.Isatou Touray
Isatou Touray (born 17 March 1955) is a Gambian politician, activist, and social reformer. A noted campaigner against female genital mutilation (FGM), she became the first female Gambian presidential candidate in 2016, before dropping out to endorse Adama Barrow and Coalition 2016. She then served in Barrow's cabinet, as trade minister, and then as health minister. On March 15, 2019, Touray became Vice-President of The Gambia, replacing her predecessor, Ousainou Darboe in a major cabinet reshuffle.Ousainou Darboe
Ousainou Darboe (born 8 August 1948) is a Gambian politician and lawyer who has served as Vice-President of the Gambia and Minister of Women's Affairs since June 2018, under President Adama Barrow. Darboe formerly served as Barrow's Minister of Foreign Affairs from February 2017 to June 2018.
Darboe is a human rights lawyer, and worked for the Attorney General's Chambers before entering private practice. He has served as advisor to several companies and government agencies, and was also for a time the vice president of the Gambia Bar Association. He founded the United Democratic Party (UDP) in 1996. It was the main opposition party under the rule of Yahya Jammeh, and Darboe himself stood in the 1996, 2001, and 2006 presidential elections. He was imprisoned in 2016, but released after Barrow's victory.Polygamy in the Gambia
Polygamous unions are legally recognized in the Gambia and have been said to be very prevalent. They are frequently considered by the older generations of Gambian men as an indicator of prosperity.In 1795, Mungo Park observed that "every man of free condition has a plurality of wives". He noted that it is necessary for each wife to be accommodated in their own hut.Adama Barrow, the current president of the Gambia, has two wives. His predecessor, Yahya Jammeh, also had two wives at one point in time, but divorced his third wife under pressure from his second wife (whom he had married after divorcing his first wife).President of the Gambia
The President of the Republic of the Gambia is the head of state and head of government of the Gambia. The president leads the executive branch of the government of the Gambia and is the commander-in-chief of the Military of the Gambia. The post was created in 1970, when the Gambia became a republic and has been held by three people: Dawda Jawara, who ruled from 1970 until 1994, Yahya Jammeh, who seized power in a bloodless coup that year and Adama Barrow, who defeated Jammeh in elections held in December 2016.Supreme Court of the Gambia
The Supreme Court of the Gambia is a superior court of record and the highest court in The Gambia. Established in 1851, it has appellate and original jurisdiction over any law exceeding the powers conferred by the Constitution or any law upon the National Assembly or any other person or authority.The Gambia at the Commonwealth Games
The Gambia has sent a team to every Commonwealth Games from 1970 except the boycotted 1986 Games. The only medal for the Gambia was won in their first appearance in 1970, a bronze by Sheikh Tidiane Faye in the men's high jump.
The Gambia withdrew from the Commonwealth in October 2013, so it was not represented at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.
The Gambia returned to the Commonwealth on 8 February 2018, as Adama Barrow had promised to do as part of his campaign in 2016 in which he was elected as the third President of the Gambia.
A team from The Gambia competed at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, having been restored to its membership of the Commonwealth Games Federation on 31 March 2018.United Democratic Party (The Gambia)
The United Democratic Party (abbreviated UDP) is a political party in the Gambia, founded in 1996 by the human rights lawyer Ousainou Darboe. As a candidate in the presidential election of 18 October 2001, he came second with 32.6% of the popular vote; he took second place again in the 22 September 2006 presidential election with 26.7% of the vote. The 17 January 2002 parliamentary election was boycotted by the party. In the 25 January 2007 parliamentary election, the party won four out of 48 seats.After Darboe was jailed in April 2016 for his political activities in opposition to the ruling government of Yahyah Jammeh and his Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction party, the previous UDP treasurer Adama Barrow was selected as its leader and candidate for the 2016 presidential election. The UDP then became part of the opposition alliance known as Coalition 2016, a group of seven political parties, and the Coalition endorsed Barrow as its candidate. Barrow officially resigned from the party to allow him to run as a formally independent candidate endorsed by the Coalition. Barrow then won the election in a surprise victory. When Jammeh refused to accept the election result, he was forced from office by a regional military intervention, and when Barrow took office, Darboe was released from prison.United Nations Security Council Resolution 2337
United Nations Security Council Resolution 2337 was a measure unanimously adopted by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on 19 January 2017. It expressed support for efforts by ECOWAS to peacefully resolve the 2016–2017 Gambian constitutional crisis, calling on President Yahya Jammeh to step down and allow a peaceful transition to the President-elect, Adama Barrow, as well as supporting the African Union and ECOWAS decisions in recognizing Adama Barrow as the new President. The measure was adopted by a vote of 15 supporting, none opposed, and none abstained.
|President of the First Republic (1970–1994)|
|Military regime (1994–1996)|
|President of the Second Republic (from 1996)|
|Also attend meetings|