Sir Dawda Accorded Historic State Funeral; Hailed for upholding Rule of Law, Democracy and Tolerance
Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara, the founding father of modern-day Gambia, has been accorded a historic state funeral yesterday August 29th, 2019, two days after he passed away at his home in Fajara, a suburb of Banjul.
The event was presided over by Mariam Jack Denton, Speaker of the National Assembly and attended by President Adama Barrow, Cabinet Ministers, National Assembly Members, Foreign Diplomats, senior government civil servants and Gambians of all walks of life.
Many speakers, including President Barrow, hailed the former Gambian President and Leader of the Peoples Progressive Party (PPP) as a man who believed in respect for human rights, good governance and democracy and that was characterized by his virtues of tolerance, humility and humor.
“Sir Dawda was a true Pan Africanist, a democrat, a champion of the rule of law and respect for human rights,” said President Adama Barrow in his tribute to the late Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara.
President Barrow said the entire Gambian populace is mourning the late president for not only been the first premier, first prime minister or the first president of the country, but also for championing the struggle to end colonial rule and dominance in The Gambia.
According to him, Sir Dawda’s legacy goes far beyond The Gambia and Africa, disclosing that Sir Dawda was among the founding fathers of the OMVG, ECOWAS and the OAU.
Omar Amadou Jallow alias OJ, a one-time Minister of Agriculture under Sir Dawda Jawara, described him as a true statesman who saw nothing other than the country. He said it was out of such love for country that Sir Dawda decided to sacrifice his job to lead the Peoples Progressive Party (PPP) before eventually leading the country to independence.
“Sir Dawda was a great man who had nothing to think about except the welfare of the Gambian people. He didn’t tolerate tribalism, sectionalism or otherwise and never argued or suppressed any opinion different from his own,” the former agriculture minister disclosed to the nation.
According to him, it was because of his foresight and dedication to nation building that Gambia Ports Authority, Social Security, Gamtel, Gambia Produce Marketing Board (GPMB) among others were established. He observed that these institutions continue to put the country on a strong footing to economic prosperity and growth.
The former agriculture minister recalled that over 150,000 metric tons of groundnut was produced in the country in 1993, revealing that it was as a result of such landmark successes that no single Gambian risked his life to Europe during the time of Jawara’s rule.
He urged Gambians to learn from the wisdom of the country’s founding father and nurture his virtues of tolerance, love for his country and his beliefs in human rights, rule of law and democracy.
Seedia Jatta, a longtime political opponent and member of the national assembly described the deceased as an immortal being whose legacy will continue to live the test of time, adducing that the ex-president was a true democrat and an exemplary sportsman.
“We are here not only to pay homage to the man who led us to independence but to learn from his successes and challenges he faced as a leader. His tolerance, his humility and humor are some of his virtues we should learn from in building this country from where he left it,” Hon. Jatta disclosed at the state funeral.
He said the ex-president could have created a one-party state but declined to do so base on his belief in democracy, rule of law and good governance, stressing that one thing Gambians should learn from Sir Dawda’s legacy is tolerance.
Speaking on behalf of his family, Dawda Jawara Jnr described his late father as an exemplary man who only believed in hard work, tolerance and love for each other, adducing that the late Gambian leader doesn’t believe in any shortcut to success in life but total dedication and commitment to duty.
Hassan Jallow, Chief Justice of the republic of The Gambia who served President Jawara from 1984-1994, said the former president made his job very easy as a Chief Justice because of his belief in championing the promotion of the rule of law.
He said Sir Dawda achieved tremendous successes in the field of agriculture, education, health, economy as well as the promotion of the rule of law, human rights, democracy and good governance, adding that these virtues were Sir Dawda’s personal tenets that distinguishes him from many other leaders across the country.
Chief Justice Jallow described Sir Dawda as someone full of confidence who always proved sceptics wrong, revealing that this was why he was able to put the country on a strong footing of economic prosperity, growth and development even though at the time of independence, there were many sceptics to Gambia’s survival as a country.
The former president was finally laid to rest at about 7:00pm at the National Assembly grounds amidst sorrow, grieve and yelling from many people who attended the event.