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On courage and service to the nation: A Tribute to Momodou Kaba Tambajang, Commissioner GRA

Dec 20, 2010, 12:58 PM | Article By: Momodou Sabally (Author Jangi Jollof)

The general who advances without coveting fame..., whose only thought is to protect his country and do good service for his sovereign, is the jewel of the kingdom.

Sun Tzu

In the demise of Momodou Kaba Tambajang, The Gambia has lost a jewel, indeed we have lost a rare gem. It is said that many are called but the chosen are few. This gentleman was called and he answered; when he was chosen he submitted and delivered to a nation with high expectations. Perhaps, many people may not know what it entails to be the  Commissioner General of the Gambia Revenue Authority but those of us familiar with the duties and responsibilities associated with this very important office realise that  beside the pomp and pageantry that may occasionally be associated with this office, it is one of the most challenging positions anyone can handle in this country: to be entrusted with filling the coffers of a whole nation every year from one budget projection to the other.

Kaba took this responsibility and duty to serve his nation under sometimes very trying circumstances. He served as Director General of the erstwhile Customs and Excise Department with distinction. When the nation’s revenue collection agencies were merged in 2006, the country sought a competent person to head this novel institution. It was going to be a risky experiment. The authorities chose Kaba, and true to his character he accepted the challenge and delivered per excellence. To date, the Gambia Revenue Authority stands, shoulder-high amongst Africa’s eminent success stories in a new paradigm of domestic resource mobilisation. It happened under the dynamic and courageous stewardship of Momodou Kaba Tambajang.

His was a lifetime of service to his nation. His dedication to duty was exemplary, and this great feat was epitomised on his death bed. Sick in the hospital, he called one of his dedicated staff, reminding him of the current and pending duties that were to be executed. Perplexed, this gentleman told him “CG, but you are sick; you do not have to worry about the office, now.”What a story! In this is an example worthy of emulation for all of us that are entrusted with national duties. His was a service to the nation with great courage and exemplary dedication!

Ever the most humble and respectful gentleman, everyone who spoke about him mentioned his humility, dedication to duty, and deep sense of consideration for his family, colleagues and neighbours. One of his staff was in deep sorrow and sobbing at the mortuary just after learning of Kaba’s demise. He lamented that he has lost a father for Kaba was not only his mentor but also was as kind to him, and gave him heartfelt advice like a father would to his son.

The last time I saw him was during a dinner he hosted for a visiting delegation of the World Customs Organization, where he reminded us all about the virtue of brotherly love. Exuding deep joy and satisfaction for a successfully completed international conference in The Gambia, I could feel his joy and I was deeply happy to see his face radiant with a glorious smile.

For a man who has put a smile on the faces of many a Gambian and non-Gambians alike, I was not there when he answered the ultimate call of Allah, but those present did tell me that he passed away with a smile on his face. May Allah the Most merciful keep him in joy in the next world and admit him to the loftiest of palaces in Heaven.

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