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Adieu! S.M. Dibba

Jun 4, 2008, 7:42 AM

It is from God that we come and it is to God that we shall all one day return. It's through death that people are separated from their children, parents, friends and loved ones.

The news of the death of Sheriff M. Dibba, a politician of renown in this country, has shocked many people, not least his supporters. It is for this reason that this paper finds it fitting to pen this piece in respect of a fallen hero in Gambian politics.

The late Mr Sheriff Dibba has contributed immensely to the socio-economic development of this great nation. As our own Pap Saine recalled yesterday, the late Sheriff Dibba served in various portfolios under the erstwhile PPP government including Minister of Local Government and Lands, Minister of Works and Communication, Minister of Finance and Vice President. Mr. Dibba's variegated service saw him in the Diplomatic field as Gambia's Ambassador to Belgium from 1972 to 1974 before rejoining the Cabinet in 1974 as Minister of Economic Planning up to July 1975 when he resigned again from a government in which he stirred emotions of both kinds.

After his resignation the late Mr. Dibba also led the National Convention Party and contested many presidential elections, on one occasion while he was in prison!

Mr. Dibba also served as Speaker of the country's National Assembly under the APRC administration. This turned out to be an unpopular decision by him, leading to him being harried by some political commentators who argued that the decision amounts to a political blunder in his twilight years.

Perhaps, however, the truest example of Sheriff Dibba's political integrity was on show to the public in July 1975 when he resigned from government. In an interview with Pap Saine at the time, he said: "I have tendered my resignation because the politics being pursued by Jawara's government lacks attention to rural development and mismanagement of public services." What a truly noble action! How many modern politicians would have the courage and strength of character to resign from a position of privilege and influence so as to maintain their political integrity and register displeasure at the policies of the government? This kind of act is what marks Sheriff Dibba down as one of the great politicians ever to have served the people of The Gambia. He was a man of princiael and integrity who had the best interests of the people of The Gambia at heart. Every politician in the country should regard him as a very fitting role model.

What a great service the late Mr. Dibba has rendered unto this country.

"There are times in politics when you must be on the right side and lose."

J.K. Galbraith