Friday, 2 December 2016

Former security guard to become Gambian president

Recently, the political situation around the world has been taking a new turn.
First it was the election of Nigerian President who was the unlikely candidate to win. The shocking Brexit and then Donald Trump emerging as the 45th US president and now the batton has been passed to Gambia. A former security guard has become the flag bearer for a new era of change in Gambia.

He is a political novice just like Donald Trump. He is a businessman and represents a coalition of parties who banded together to upset Yahya Jammeh’s 22 years of unbroken rule in the tiny West African nation.

The 51 year old according to AFP is confident he will win the coming elections on Thursday.
Just six months earlier, he was a political unknown.

Burly but soft-spoken, Barrow was thrust into the limelight following the jailing of top officials from the United Democratic Party (UDP) in July. Seven Gambian political parties and an independent candidate joined forces to field a unifying figure, naming Barrow. 

Owner of his own estate agency, he was employed at The Gambia’s largest property rental firm, and lived in Britain for three and a half years when he was younger. His time in Britain saw him work as a security guard in London, where he developed a love for Arsenal Football Club. 

A husband to two wives and father of five, he is a self-confessed workaholic, with football one of his few known distractions. He is a  devout Muslim, insisting his faith guides every step of his life, as well as his politics. 

 Banjul-based diplomats say his lack of political baggage may have worked in his favour.
If his victory is confirmed, Barrow is likely to serve a three-year term at the head of a transition reform government.

As a former economic migrant, Barrow understands the draw of Europe for young, poverty-struck Gambians fleeing in huge numbers to make the perilous journey across the Mediterranean.
“There is a crisis in the Gambia, that’s why everyone is taking the Back Way (migrant route),” he said, mindful that riches seldom await those leaving their homeland.

“You hear the name Europe, you think it’s heaven. It’s never like that,” Barrow said of his country, where 60 percent of the 1.99 million population is graded as living in poverty.

Punch gathered that Barrow’s campaign benefited from social media and internet technology, which helped the opposition organise mobile rallies and avoid roadblocks during campaigning.


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