The nation in mourning!

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Every soul must taste death!

The death has been announced of the former president and independence hero Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara. He died at his Fajara residence on Tuesday. He was 95.

The news of his demise spread quickly like wildfire on social media platforms, with tributes pouring in from Gambians describing him, as a leader who gave his best to The Gambia and its people.

The deceased was a man of the highest character and the best leader every country could wish for. His extensive rich career resume from veterinary discipline to public office (from Prime Minister to president), has been exemplary.

As a father of the nation, Jawara uses his vast expertise, tactics and resourcefulness even at the height volatile conflicts (civil wars in West Africa), to lead this country to what many would later popularly call it the ‘Smiling Coast of Africa’.    

Born on 16 May, 1924 at Barajally village in the Niani District of the Central River Region (then MacCarthy Island Division), Jawara was The Gambia’s Prime Minister from 1962 to 1970 and its president from 1970 until the 22nd July, 1994 military takeover.

He was a leader who will forever be remembered for his respect for constitution, human rights, democracy and love for nature, as manifested in the much-talked about Banjul Declaration.

For 43 years, he was the leader of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), which role he assumed since March 1959. The PPP then led The Gambia to independence on 18 February 1965.

Certainly, his demised is not only a great loss to the country in particular, but humanity in general.

During the independence struggle, Jawara led his compatriots to free the country, which many at the time viewed it as an ‘improbable nation’ to a level envisaged by all.

Again, his style of leadership has been admired by many of his colleague leaders within the sub-region even at the heights of the civil conflicts besetting the sub-region. This is because Jawara believed in solving problems through mutual dialogue and cultural mediation.

The Gambia under his leadership enjoyed one of the best multi-party democracies, if not the best in the sub-region.

The Gambia has indeed lost a towering and a great figure. Adieu Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara!

“Irrespective of age, we mourn for those loved and lost. Mourning is one of the deepest expressions of pure love.”

Russell M. Nelson