The Gambia has formally sworn in its new elected President, Adama Barrow, before a crowd of thousands, including African heads of state.
It was the second time he had taken the oath after his formal inauguration was delayed by the reluctance of his predecessor to leave office.
“This is a victory for democracy,” he told a full stadium of his countrymen near the capital Banjul. “Few people would have thought that I would be standing here today,” he said.
Barrow told the crowd that Gambian people now had the power to control their own destiny and that he would free political prisoners and improve press freedom.
“For 22 years, the Gambian people yearned to live in a country where our diverse tribes will be bridged by tolerance and our determination to work together for the common good,” he said. “One Gambia, one nation, one people.”
Barrow, 51, talked of pressing economic challenges left over from the rule of his predecessor, Yahya Jammeh.
“We have inherited an economy in decline,” he said, and promised to attract investment in the technology sector, introduce free primary education and strengthen the judiciary.
“Gambia has changed forever. The people are fully conscious that they can put a government in office as well as remove it.”
Barrow’s first swearing-in was at a low-key event at the country’s embassy in Senegal last month, after the lengthy power struggle forced him into exile.