A former security guard who worked at an Argos store in North London has been elected president of The Gambia. Adama Barrow ended Yahya Jammeh s 22-year-long rule in a shock victory following Thursday s elections. The 51-year-old is set to be president for the next five years and marks a change of leadership in the country . However he only emerged onto The Gambia s political scene some six months ago.
Adama Barrow won by 263,515 votes 45 percent of the total while Yahya Jammeh finished in second place with 36 percent.
Rule for a billion years
According to Sky News1, Yahya Jammeh had vowed to rule for a billion years . During the election campaign, Jammeh said his victory would be the biggest landslide in the history of the country. He appeared on television to concede saying: I take this opportunity to congratulate Mr Adama for his victory . It s a clear victory .
I wish him all the best and I wish all Gambians the best. Jammeh who came to power in 1994, also offered the President elect help with the transition. Human rights groups have heavily criticised Jammeh s rule of The Gambia and accused him of repressing the media, opposition and being anti-gay .
A passion for Arsenal Football Club
According to The Independent3, 51-year-old President elect Adama Barrow spent over three years living in London when he was younger. He worked in an Argos store on Holloway Road as a security guard, close to the Emirates Stadium where Arsenal Football Club play. The President elect is said to have developed a passion for his local team.
He later moved back to his home country and set up his own estate agency. Barrow had been chosen by a group of political parties who rallied together to try and end Jammeh s 22-year-long rule.
Cheering in the streets
The Guardian4 reported that as soon as the result had been announced people went out onto the streets of the capital Banjul to celebrate. Cars were screeching their horns and loudly playing music while children and their families gathered to sing.
People also took to the internet to celebrate following a 24 hour internet blackout on the day of the election.
A former security guard who worked at Argos in London has become the President of Gambia in a shock victory. Adama Barrow is set to replace despotic leader Yahya Jammeh who once vowed to rule the tiny West African nation for “a billion years”. Barrow, 51, was born in Ghana but moved to Britain in the early 2000s to study for a degree in real estate, according to the Times.
While living in London he worked as a security guard at the retail giant Argos on Holloway Road. Jammeh, who has been in office for 22 years after seizing power in a coup, has said he will step down.
Adama Barrow united opponents to claim an unlikely victory in Gambia (Photo: AFP/Getty Images) Adama Barrow, 51, was born in Ghana but moved to Britain in the early 2000s (Photo: AFP/Getty Images) Barrow worked at Argos while he was studying in London (Photo: PA)
But it remains to be seen if the leader, who has been accused of imprisoning and torturing opponents will, in fact, go peacefully.
“If (Barrow) wants to work with us also, I have no problem with that . I will help him work towards the transition,” Jammeh said.
He later claimed that he planned to move to his farm after leaving office following a handover in January. Celebrations erupted in the streets of Banjul, a normally sleepy seaside capital whose white beaches lined with palm trees are a draw for European tourists, when the results were announced.
Barrow ousted Jammeh who has been in power for 22 years (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)
Gambians shouted: “We are free . We won’t be slaves of anyone.”
Some waved the Gambian flag and opposition party signs.
Official results from the electoral commission head gave Barrow, a real estate developer who once worked as a security guard at retailer Argos in London, 45.5 percent of the vote against Jammeh’s 36.7 percent. Jammeh’s eccentricities have often made headlines. He once said he had invented a herbal cure for AIDS that only works on Thursdays.
Once every year he also invited a few hundred women to the grounds of State House, where he personally administered another herbal cure he had concocted for infertility. He arrested hundreds on suspicion of being witches or wizards and threatened to decapitate gay people. Jammeh’s supporters deny abuses and he has often criticised Western powers for meddling in African affairs.
Barrow somehow managed to unite and galvanise Gambia’s opposition for the first time since Jammeh took power in the country of 1.8 million people. He has promised to revive the economy, one of the region’s poorest performers that pushes thousands of Gambians to flee to Europe in search of a better life. Barrow has also pledged to end human rights abuses and to step down after three years as a boost to democracy.
It is unclear whether Jammeh, if he steps down, will insist on some kind of immunity for alleged abuses under his rule.
President-elect Donald Trump and his soon-to-be-selected secretary of homeland security will have a full plate when they take over in January . Indeed, there are so many areas for reform and improvement that any efforts to fix the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) could easily get bogged down. Luckily, Heritage has identified four1 main priorities that the next administration should focus on.
1 . DHS Management
DHS management needs to be fixed . Its organizational cohesiveness and central leadership continue to present significant challenges that require more work than the Obama administration s Unity of Effort initiative2.
Additionally, the DHS s office policy should be strengthened to create intra-agency policy, resolve agency disputes, and, above all, drive structural change so that DHS components can work more efficiently as a cohesive unit . Luckily, the newly released National Defense Authorization A3ct conference report takes a step in this direction by upgrading the head of the DHS office of policy from Assistant Secretary to Under Secretary.
2 . Immigration Laws
Current immigration laws must be enforced4 . In Fiscal Year 2015, DHS data shows that only 462,463 removals and returns occurred the lowest number since 1971 . Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deported merely 63,000 criminal aliens from the U.S . compared to 150,000 in 2015. President Barack Obama s executive actions on immigration enforcement must be rescinded, and the 287(g) program, which trains and deputizes state and local police to help enforce immigration laws, needs to be strengthened .
Rapid-removal authority under Section 235 of the Immigration and Nationality Act should be expanded to discourage surges of illegal immigration . Additional prosecutors, judges, and agents should be requested so that more cases can be heard and illegal immigrants deported. The U.S . also needs to make sure these criminal aliens appear at their designated court hearings by expanding effective Alternatives to Detention, such as GPS tracking anklets.
3 . Cybersecurity
DHS has a much larger role in domestic cybersecurity due to the passage of the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA5) The primary purpose of that bill was to make information sharing between private and public sectors more efficient . This sharing will need to be monitored and improved, together with DHS s intrusion detection and prevention system known as Einstein.
DHS will also need to play a role in helping the Trump administration respond to state-sponsored and directed cyber-attacks . The U.S . should deploy all the tools at its disposal, including diplomatic, legal, visa, financial and others, to retaliate.
4 . Proper, Thorough Vetting
There is growing concern over how individuals, whether they are refugees, permanent immigrants, or visitors, are vetted before entering the U.S. The refugee process takes on average 12-18 months to complete, with background checks being requested through various department databases, including the State Department, DHS, FBI, and National Counterrorism Center databases . Interviews are conducted that ask security and country-specific questions .
In the case of Syrian refugees, the Syrian Enhanced Review has already started applying additional scrutiny to cases.
Congress needs detailed information6 from the administration on the nature of the risks incurred in the vetting process, and how it plans to mitigate those risks . Congress and the administration must also work together to begin the much-needed repair of America s intelligence capabilities. For regular immigrants and visitors, there is the traditional visa process, which involves a less lengthy but similar vetting process . San Bernardino attacker Tashfeen Malik managed to slip through this system, proving that there is always room for improvement. Visitors from many countries are able to use the Visa Waiver Program7 (VMP), which does not require an in-person interview in order for the applicant to travel to the U.S .
Instead, VWP countries provide the U.S . with important intelligence on a variety of things, including known and suspected terrorists, serious criminals, and lost and stolen passports, as well as improving their airport security . VWP is a unique tool that is extremely valuable for U.S . security and should be strengthened and expanded. In order to keep our homeland secure, the next homeland security secretary should prioritize these four issues .
These reforms are essential to a cohesive, effective, and efficient Department of Homeland Security that can keep the U.S .
- ^ four (www.heritage.org)
- ^ Unity of Effort initiative (www.hlswatch.com)
- ^ newly released National Defense Authorization A (armedservices.house.gov)
- ^ must be enforced (www.heritage.org)
- ^ Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA (dailysignal.com)
- ^ Congress needs detailed information (www.heritage.org)
- ^ Visa Waiver Program (www.heritage.org)