Gambians were last Saturday evening put through a false news frenzy that former President Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara died in a Dakar hospital. Kairo News was inundated with calls and text messages as people were in desperate bid to verify the story. As it happens, Sir Dawda wasn’t dead, and the news is false.
According to some sources, a presenter in an online radio was prompted with the news by a caller. The news started catching fire on Facebook and Viber messages. Sir Dawda’s close family members were contacted all the way in The Gambia for verification. As it turned out, they denied the story and saying “Sir Dawda is still alive, although in Dakar, Senegal, for a check up”.
We urge media partners to put breaks on news until they are certain of its veracity, especially when such news is in connection to the life and death of a former statesman like Sir Dawda, the man whose efforts broke off our colonial yokes. One should not relay the death of someone without tangible proofs and speaking to close family first.
The 91-year-old Jawara is said to be undergoing medical check up, which prompted the rumours and eventual news of his death on certain online radios.
We wish Sir Dawda a long and healthy life. Sir Dawda led The Gambia into independence in 1965 and ruled the West African country for 30 years until a group of disgruntled soldiers dislodged him from power in July 1994.