WHY? Why now? Why Fadera that I as my good friend, should be written about in the past tense? Coincidentally, my best and trusted brother and friend Mr. Lamin Drammeh, the same person that introduced me to the late Dawda Fadera was that same person that broke the sad news of Fadera's death to me while I was on mission in my birth country, Sierra Leone. That sad news found me in utter shock and dismay, having spent an adventurous great time with Amb. Dawda Fadera and his lovely wife at the Kennedy Center to enjoy the play, "THE TEMPTATIONS", courtesy of Dr. Judith Kuriansky. I helped organize this memorable event with Ambassador Dawda Fadera and his lovely wife, including HE Ambassador Frederic Hegbe of Togo with a host of friends and family at the Kennedy Center in Washington. Amb. Fadera was his usual self, cracking jokes and making new friends that is consistent with his incredible humanity and goodness of heart as perhaps one of the most experienced and disciplined diplomats that I have had the honor of serving with in Washington in representing his native country, The Gambia.
HE Ambassador Dawda Fadera was Gambia's powerhouse in the Washington Political landscape. Besides Washington, Amb. Fadera travelled across the United States to promote and talk about Gambia to whoever could listen. What was even more telling was his incredible humility and respect he had for the Gambian Diaspora. His office was always open to all irrespective of political party labels. He served all that sought his leadership, support and assistance. During his tenure in the Jammeh Administration, he was the only member that I knew within the Jammeh government that was accepted and loved by even the harshest critics of the Jammeh government. As one who facilitated demonstration permits for the Gambian diaspora in New York City, I knew every Gambian anti-Jammeh activist because my good and dear friend Lamin Drammeh made sure he introduced every advocate to me but always told me that the late Ambassador Fadera was a special person for them in their movement. He remained their friend and brother until his maker called him home.
When I was a candidate for Public Advocate in New York City in 2013, late Dawda Fadera campaigned with me on the streets and neighborhoods of New York City although he was an officer in the government of the Gambia. Years after the campaign that I did not prevail, I questioned him to tell me why he did not even hesitate to campaign with me on the streets of New York. His answer surprised me unto this day with his personal quote that I will publish in this tribute for the first time for the world to hear...... "My brother" (with a broad and reassuring smile) he said, "When you win, Africa wins. That is why I will walk with you on these streets of New York to show my solidarity with you". I will never forget those words that wrang true today.
Little did each of us ever dreamed that we will someday be serving our respective neighboring countries as the representatives of our birth countries in the United States. Ambassador Dawda Fadera served ably and effectively as a member of the Policy Committee of the ECOWAS Ambassador's group, where I also serve as Secretary General. We as his colleagues will miss his brilliant mind, kindness and incredible friendship and contributor to Africa's progress in the United States.
My personal condolences to his lovely wife and children, while praying that his country Gambia continue to benefit from the work he did on behalf of his country in the United States. May his gentle soul rest in perfect peace....Ammeena!!
HE Sidique Abou-Bakarr Wai, Sierra Leone Ambassador to the United States and Secretary General, ECOWAS Ambassadors group in the United States of America