The Gambia’s first female barrister was sworn in on Tuesday as National Assembly speaker, days after the United Democratic Party (UDP) emerged from decades in opposition to win an absolute parliamentary majority.
Mariam Jack Denton, a former UDP legal adviser was also the first woman to be called to bar in the entire Gambia.
Denton showed gratitude for the new position she was appointed to, declaring that she will work hard and ensure that her decisions are fair and impartial.
“I am honoured by the confidence and trust that (Barrow) and members of the National Assembly have in me by respectively nominating and electing me,” she said.
“I shall also strive to discharge this function with the impartiality expected of the office of the speaker and to maintain the dignity of the office”.
This is another milestone for the Gambia which comes on the heels of the former opposition party, United Democratic Party (UDP) winning the majority of seats in parliament.
The UDP which was the opposition for years emerged with a total of 31 seats in the 53-seat parliament. The former ruling party, Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC) only managed 5 seats despite previously holding 48 seats.
The UDP and other opposition parties formed a coalition against Jammeh and the APRC in 2016 which proved successful as they were able to oust Yahya Jammeh who ruled the Gambia for over 2 decades.
A UDP executive member, Momodou Sanneh was elected as the deputy speaker of the parliament. Sanneh was one of the opposition leaders who was jailed in 2016 for protesting against the death of Solo Sandeng, an opposition and demanding that his corpse be handed over.
Mrs Denton who was unanimously nominated is the first female lawyer from the Gambia and also the daughter of Gambia’s first Speaker of the Parliament, Sir Alieu S. Jack who served from 1962 to 1972.