Vanguard Africa, an organization founded in 2016 to support reformist political leaders, has scored its first win. Victory will have resonance way beyond the borders of Gambia.
Today, Adama Barrow, the flag-bearer of Gambia’s first-ever political coalition, defeated Gambia's long-time President Yahya Jammeh, who had ruled the West African nation since seizing power by coup in 1994.
This campaign was the first for Vanguard Africa, a DC-based organization dedicated to supporting democratic underdogs and reformers with the intent of advancing good governance and respect for human rights. Vanguard Africa provides technical and strategic support to promising change agents, encourages unity and coalition building, and opens up new pathways to campaign funding.
Speaking about the momentous election in Gambia, Vanguard Africa’s founding director, Jeffrey Smith said:
"Today’s victory in the Gambia will have significant resonance well beyond the borders of the country. This is a huge achievement with positive ramifications for the entire region, providing a much-needed boost to pro-democracy movements across the African continent, as well as to Vanguard Africa’s mission of promoting democratic accountability and ethical leadership."
"We are supremely proud of the role we played in this stunning victory. Yahya Jammeh's repressive leadership unfairly held the country back, prompting thousands of Gambians to courageously vote for change. President-elect Barrow's new administration will face countless daunting challenges, including the healing of a nation that has suffered collective trauma for over two decades. We are encouraged that Barrow and his coalition have pledged openness, peace, reconciliation and transparency. And we are excited about the country’s prospects under new leadership."
Vanguard Africa offers a holistic program of support to strengthen the capacity of pro-reform political candidates and elected leaders in Africa. Vanguard Africa's cohesive efforts -- informed by decades of experience working in Africa and other challenging environments across the world -- will address the fundamental obstacle that leaders often face: supplementing their vision and inherent political acumen with the resources, global support, and connections that are required to win at the polls and to effect change.