The controversy surrounding the appointment of Fatoumatta Jallow-Tambajang was finally buried after she officially took oath as vice president of The Gambia at the presidency in Fajara on Thursday.
Jallow was first appointed in March as vice president but controversy over her age, reportedly over 65, made it impossible for her to become vice president due to age restrictions in Gambian law.
Though President Adama Barrow maintained that the document they received from the lady suggested she was under 65, he nevertheless rescinded her appointment making her an overseer of the portfolio.
However, the age limit was later removed by lawmakers giving way for her appointment, and for Barrow, there could not have been a better choice for the job than Jallow.
“I feel encouraged and hopeful whenever I welcome highly skilled and dedicated Gambians especially women to the position of responsibility and today is no exception,” Barrow said.
“The fight to bring peace and development to The Gambia started a long time ago when very few believe that we had a little chance to win. We finally succeeded because of the contribution of few individuals such as Fatoumatta Jallow… Jallow is a strong professional woman of sound character and integrity with vast wealth of experience.”
The swearing-in ceremony was witnessed by diplomats, cabinet ministers and family and friends of the vice president.
Fatoumatta Jallow, the vice president of The Gambia, was an instrumental figure in the formation of the coalition of seven parties that removed Yahya Jammeh.
The Gambia currently faces significant challenges including higher public debt, energy crisis, indebted and inefficient public institutions and higher youth unemployment at 38%.
“Today, we have many challenges but we will strive to create jobs with extra focus on youths and women businesses… We will fulfill our campaign promises,” the vice president argued.
“As the vice president of this great nation, a huge task awaits me. I will be at the service to the people, our citizens, and a pillar of support to the president.”
A former UN staffer, Tambajang served under Jammeh as a minister in 1996 but was sacked for unexplained reasons though she claimed it was because of her uprightness.