New Gambian president was ‘Argos’ security guard

He once tackled a thief who was jailed 6 months

Adama Barrow will soon move into The Gambia’s presidential palace, an opulent white building in Banjul.

He will take the country’s highest office after trouncing the current leader, Yahya Jammeh, who had been in power for more than two decades, making headlines around the world.

But he hasn’t always been in such a commanding position. He once worked as a security guard in a branch of Argos on Holloway Road, North London.

Instead of deciding his country’s foreign policy and honouring state guests, he was tasked with keeping an eye on shoplifters and diffusing any awkward situations with customers pushing to get their order first.

On one occasion, he tackled a thief who was jailed for six months.

Barrow, who lived on an estate in London between 1998 and 2002, studied property management before moving back to the small West African country to start a successful estate agent business.

But his past was used against him by opposition politicians.

Sheriff Bojang, the country’s information minister, mocked him at a rally: ‘We have heard that Mr Barrow worked as a security guard in … what is it… this shop called Argos in Britain?’

But Barrow, 51, said working in lower level jobs including at a festival, offices and other high street stores had given him a better grounding.

‘My time in Britain taught me the importance of working hard and good time-keeping, and both those things helped me a lot when I went back home,’ he said.