Adama Barrow has been sworn in as president of The Gambia at a ceremony attended by African and western diplomats in Senegal.
His inauguration at the embassy of The Gambia in Dakar was as a result of the refusal by Yahya Jammeh to relinquish power despite his defeat at the presidential election of December 1.
Mr. Barrow used his first speech in office to call on the Gambian security forces to “remain loyal to the constitution” and stay in their barracks, according to a report by the BBC.
He said soldiers found outside with firearms would be considered rebels.
“From today on I am the president of The Gambia regardless of whether you voted for me or not,” he said.
Mr. Barrow said his election was an opportunity for Gambians to “effect change that has been in the making for decades” and pledged “liberty and prosperity for everyone” regardless of ethnicity or gender.
He also vowed constitutional and legal reforms and said his election was the start of a meritocratic Gambia where “what you know” will count for more than “who you know”.
Governments around the world have been communicating their recognition of Mr. Barrow as the new president of the tiny West African nation of 2.8 million people.
The United Kingdom, in a statement by its Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, congratulated the new president, saying his election “were free and fair, and an orderly expression of democratic choice by the Gambian people”.
They represent a new chapter in the country’s history and an opportunity for change in The Gambia, it said.
The UK paid tribute to the “decisive leadership shown by the West African regional body, ECOWAS, and the supportive role played by the African Union in ensuring that the democratic wishes of the Gambian people will be respected”.
It said it was “vital that former President Jammeh now stands aside to allow an orderly transition”.