Twenty-one Gambian ambassadors accredited to different countries who were in December 2016, sacked by former President Yahya Jammeh for telling him to step down after loosing the elections, have finally met the new President Adama Barrow.
The diplomats were all reinstated to their various positions by President Barrow after taking the mantle of leadership of this country.
They are currently in the country to grace the 52nd Independence anniversary and the inauguration of President Barrow on Gambian soil. They used the opportunity to convene an interactive session with the new President and to familiarize themselves.
Addressing the diplomats, President Barrow welcome them in the new government saying Gambia has finally changed from a dictatorial rule to democratic rule. He expressed delight over the election that ushered in the new government which is base on democratic principles saying everybody was on board to make the change happen.
“We came to government not to have anything personal against anybody. The government has changed but Gambians have to continue working under the new government and you ambassadors are part of that. All of you where appointed by the then APRC regime under Yahya Jammeh but it is not personal but principle because you are Gambians and you have the right to work under the government” he said.
President Barrow encourage the Ambassadors to continue on doing their good work they started over the past years saying Gambia is a young democracy and everybody’s hand should be on deck so that the country will move forward.
President Barrow reminded the diplomats that the Gambia came out from a very difficult time as the former government was completely a liability and isolated when the country should have benefited a lot.
“Because the previous government was not respecting democratic principles, that is why you the Ambassadors took the bull by the horn and called on Jammeh to step down even though it was a risky move. You love your country” he said.
Ousainou Darboe, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad thanked the Gambian diplomats for the visit saying it will help the President familiarize himself with them.
According to him, the constitutional responsibility of shaping and implementing foreign policy of the country rest entirely on the shoulder of the president and for you to represent the country in the other countries.
“It is therefore very important that the President knows and familiarize himself with you as you are entrusted with responsibilities of implementing Gambia’s foreign policy” he said.
Lamin Faati, Permanent Secretary 2 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said since there is a new government in place, it is important for the diplomats to meet the new President and line Minister and interact as they are in the forefront of diplomacy and foreign policy.
Dembo Badjie, the Dean of Gambian diplomats and ambassador to the Peoples’ Republic of China said after the December elections, they articulated their views on the prevailing circumstances in the country at the time because they felt that diplomacy is about image. He said on the 2nd December, 2016, Gambia was on the world map for all the right reasons but again on the 9th December, 2016, the country was on the world map for all wrong reasons.
“As the representative of the country abroad, we felt that it is our professional duty to speak out on the issues and ask the former government to step down and to ensure the peaceful transfer of power to President-elect at the time in accordance with the will of the Gambian people” he noted.
He thanked the government for reinstating them on their positions after the decision by the former President Yahya Jammeh to terminate their appointments.