Tribute To Anta Samba, Former Secretary of UDP Female Youth Wing
By Maimuna Ceesay-Darboe former
President of UDP Female Youth Wing
When the Senior Administrative Secretary called me and said “I have bad news about your friend and sister”, I knew he was referring to Anta Samba. We had spoken about her health condition just a few days before. The shock and dismay that I felt cannot be described. I knew she was very sick but I did not expect she would die in such an untimely way. I am totally devastated. I have lost somebody who was very close to me and who meant a lot to me.
My relationship with Anta started in May, 1998 when at the first National Congress of the United Democratic Party in Brikama, Western Division, I was elected as President of the newly created Female Youth Wing and Anta was elected as Secretary. Thus started a very close relationship that extended way beyond the normal cooperation between colleagues involving even our two families. This was two years after the lifting of the ban on political activities in 1996 and five months before the first elections to elect a government to replace military junta.
Born and raised in Banjul, Anta came from a well known family in the Capital and this made her activities in politics much easier. She was one of the major stalwarts of the party in Banjul and was an influential figure in the early days of the party.
As Secretary of the Female Youth Wing (FYW), she automatically was a member of the main Youth Wing Executive, and then headed by the President late Shyngle Nyassi. She also represented the FYW along with me as President, on the Party National Executive. Her participation and contributions in the Executive matters have always been useful particularly when it concerns youth and women’s affairs.
I recall in March, 1999 when we organized a rally at Fitzgerald Street in Banjul and Inspector General of Police refused to grant us the usual permit and we decided to hold the meeting all the same and no incident took place. This practice of refusal of permits has been meted on the UDP from the early days of the party. Fass Ngagga Choi is just the latest. Anta provided lunch to the party members who came early for the rally, at her own expense. Her generosity in the party was legendary. When we had our party functions in Banjul, she would always arrange food for participants. This was particularly the case with our party agents during the period of registration of voters and elections.
She was kindhearted and generous. One incident which I always remember about her generosity was when I got married to my husband Lamin R Darboe whilst I was in America and she prepared on the day of the marriage, huge basins of well garnished Benachin and several crates of drinks and took them to the family of my husband in Pirang to their great surprise and appreciation. I was really touched and I knew that even in my absence she remained devoted to our friendship.
Anta was a family woman and was very fond of her children who accompanied her at all party functions and activities. UDP was her second family and she would do everything for its advancement and progress. She was respectful and polite to all in the party from grassroots to senior officials and gained the admiration of all, even in the opposite party.
Anta’s death is a great loss not only to me but the party as well. Even on her sick bed her she continued to wield a lot of influence on the Banjul constituents and I have no doubt that the Banjul committee and indeed the entire party, would have a vacuum that would be difficult to fill. As for me I cherished friendship and the time we served our party together in the service of youths and women. I thank Allah for making me know and work with such a good human being who can had enriched my own life in many ways. I can therefore only pray to Allah the Almighty to grant her eternal peace in Heaven most and restore peace and normalcy to our beloved country, something she had worked in her lifetime within the UDP.