Gambia: Barrow shuns Jammeh, initiates `Think Tank’, strategic plan

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The President-elect of the Gambia, Adama Barrow, has shunned President Jammeh’s stance on not accepting him as President-elect and initiated a Think Tank and outlined a three-year development strategy for the country. He intends to pursue the strategy if he assumes office on 19th January, 2017.

The plans were contained in his Christmas Day message to the nation, APA reports on Tuesday. The strategy would seek to ensure that the Gambia remains a secular, democratic, sovereign country which would protect the rights of the citizenry and guarantee religious tolerance, contrary to the move by the outgoing government declaring the Gambia an Islamic Republic. Barrow directed his speech in returning thanks, prayers and solidarity to the Christians in the country and the world at large, wishing them a happy and prosperous New Year in advance.

The incoming leader of the country’s third republic also used the occasion to announce that he had already commissioned a Think Tank. The agency for Sustainable Socio-Economic Development (ASSED) is comprised of seven experts. The experts were drawn from politics, civil, economic, social, culture and the environment to coordinate the mobilization of experts who would prepare the developmental blueprint for his government. Barrow said he would rely heavily on his coalition team of veteran politicians for the realization of the ASSED initiative. “The team will be charged with the responsibility of inviting Gambian experts and concerned friends of the Gambia to send their CVs so as to establish an Expert Bank. ASSED will then put together experts in relevant sectors to develop sectoral blueprints of our three-year development agenda, 2017 -2020,” he noted.

President-elect Barrow named the development blueprint, as “Programme For Poverty Eradication, Sustainable Socio-Economic Development and Development Cooperation”. It would also be featured in the said initiative for the shadow cabinet on 14th January 2017 to enable his government to kick start work immediately after his inauguration on 19th January, 2017. The business man-cum-politician used the opportunity to thank Gambians for voting for him and vowed to fulfil their expectations for an all-inclusive national unity government in freedom, peace and prosperity. Recall that President Yahaya Jammeh had called Barrow after the country’s presidential election that got Barrow as the next President of the country. However, Jammeh later made a volt face, declaring that he rejected in totality, the outcome of the election over claims that some of the citizens where disenfranchised.

Posted by Juliet Ekwebelam (Vanguard)

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