Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara is a name which resonates the words of a great historian: “It is the fortune of some men to personify so fittingly the dominant spirits of their time that their names are given the era they lived”. My dearest husband and granddad has not only succeeded in personifying so fittingly the dominant spirits of his time but sculptured indelible love, admiration, respect and trust in the hearts of Gambians with his landmark achievements and statesmanship.
At the national level, Sir Dawda will be remembered as the man who led the Gambia to independence and steadily steer it on peaceful waves of democracy, freedom of expression, rule of law and good governance for 30 years. It was the envy of her neighbours and beyond for its uninterrupted democratic rule and respect for human and people’s right despite its small size. When the small African state was on the brink of tearing apart due to tribal and political difference, Sir Dawda with his leadership unified the small state. He went further to make Gambians aware that the country belongs to all and not to any particular tribe. What is even more cherishing about him is the respect and humanely manner he treats everyone from his minister to the farmer in the street.
As a family head, he is faultless: caring, loving, inspiring, supportive, encouraging and fair but firm. He has sacrificed his personal ambition to build a solid and formidable future for his children. Today, looking back down the line, he can sit with a charming smile and proudly say I have achieved my dreams. Even at 90, Sir Dawda cares and gives out everything to please his family and siblings. Where there is a difference, he ameliorates peace, where there is a need he provides, and where there is hopelessness he gives hope. He is forgiving and patient.
Friends and opponents know that he a man with rare qualities. He had all the opportunities to be arrogant, brutal and insensitive but chose to be humble and civil even with those who wish him dead. That is the man I celebrate, love and cherish. Today as you turn 90 I wish you long life, good health and happiness. Love you granny.
Maimuna Kanyi Jawara