Thousands of Coalition 2016 militants, supporters and sympatisers, yesterday assembled at the buffer zone to commemorate the first anniversary of the 2016 Coalition landslide victory, during last December's 2016 presidential polls. The celebration was attended by the president and his family, senior government officials, foreign diplomats, National Assembly members, supporters and well-wishers.
Speaking at the event, the Minister of youths and sports and party leader of GPDP, Mr. Henry Gomez, said the Coalition Government was constituted by all seven political parties, who saw the need to put aside political differences with a view to bring to an end the 22 years of bad governance of ex-president Jammeh. Gomez urged the citizenry to embrace and accept the leadership of President Barrow, noting that it is ordained by God; that they should all join hands in the spirit of national development.
The leader of the PPP and Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Omar Amadou Jallow, revealed that the day is to reflect on the 22 years of dictatorship of the former Government, that was full of torture, arrests, detentions and disappearances, amongst other human rights violations that compelled Gambians to come together irrespective of status to put that painstaking scenario as history.
Jallow emphasized that the coalition was formed by all the political parties and youth and most especially, Gambians abroad for their tremendous contributions in the fight to effect the change that prevailed in the Gambia today. He urged all to put hands in gloves to develop the country.
Similar remarks were expressed by Mr. Hamat NK Bah, the NRP leader who stressed that the daunting task ahead of Gambians is to put words into action; that the talking days are over. He thanked all those who stood by the Gambia during its trying moments.
The UDP leader and Foreign Affairs Minister, Ousainou Darboe, said the day is designed to celebrate the demise of dictatorship and the enjoyment of the rule of law, transitionalism and democracy.
"Today we are celebrating the election victory of Adama Barrow as the president of the Gambia. This election brought about the demise of forced disappearances and avail us the opportunity to put on trial, those who engaged in those obnoxious and heinous crimes against the Gambian people. We are today celebrating the election of President Adama Barrow and the enjoyment of accountability in the Gambia" he said.
For her part the Vice President and Minister for Women's Affairs, Fatoumata Jallow Tambajang pointed out that the Coalition Government was formed by all the political parties namely: PDOIS, UDP, NRP, PPP, GPDP, GMC, NCP and the Independent Candidate.
VP Tambajang broke into tears as she mounted the podium to recall the trying times the country went through, in the hands of ex-president Jammeh, and the huddles the country sailed through in effecting the change that is prevailing in the Gambia today. She urged all to take ownership of the country and work towards its development.
President Adama Barrow in his speech, tasked his Ministers and the entire citizenry to make history, owing that what has never been achieved, has been achieved; that the country has succeeded in her struggle to ensure freedom for all which he said is paramount and urged Gambians to remain united to develop the country.
"On this faithful day last year, this country took a stand and liberated itself from the politics of fear, intimidation and division and embraced hope, diversity, respect for human dignity and the rule of law", said president Barrow. He said the change has been both dramatic and decisive, with the people resolving that no longer again will the country return to misrule, bad governance and dictatorship. "Consequently, because of our determination, we are witnessing the beginning of a new democracy based on justice, freedom, equality and fraternity", he said.
President Barrow assured that his government has taken the firm step in resolving the electricity crisis in the country before the end of three years, without which, he said, the development of the country cannot be attained. He informed the gathering that the country has funds to purchase groundnuts in the upcoming groundnut trade season.
The president thanked party leaders for setting aside political differences in favor of the national interest, by uniting to support his candidacy as the flag bearer following his election at the convention.