Celebrating Sir Dawda Jawara’s Life

Sir Dawda celebrating 91st birthday with family!
Sir Dawda celebrating 91st birthday with family!

The Gambia’s founding father on Saturday turned 91 years old. Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara, the first president of The Gambia, was joined by the family for the birthday anniversary.

Born in Barajally, MacCarthy Island Division, Mr. Jawara was a veterinarian who became The Gambia’s Prime Minister from 1962 to 1970. He was the country’s President from 1970 until he was overthrown in a 1994 military coup d’etat.

Sir Dawda, the son of Almamy Jawara and Mama Fatty, was educated at a Methodist boys’ school in Banjul before studying in Achimota College in Ghana. He proceeded to study veterinary Science at the University of Glasgow in Scotland. Jawara became a qualified veterinary surgeon in 1953.

Upon return to The Gambia, Sir Dawda was appointed principal veterinary officer in 1957. He soon became interested in politics and joined the Protectorate People’s Party which later changed its name to the People’s Progressive Party. Jawara became the party’s leader. He contested elections in 1960 and won a legislative seat, culminating in his appointment as Minister of Education. Sir Dawda resigned his ministerial post a year later after the British government handpicked his rival to serve as the Interim Prime Minister.

Sir Dawda’s PPP won the 1962 general elections. The Barajally native who became the Prime Minister led his country to gain independence from Great Britain in 1965. Jawara was knighted in 1966.

Under Jawara’s leadership, the PPP won six successive elections [1966, 1972, 1977, 1982, 1987 and 1992] which were deem free and fair.

Jawara’s government was not without some hiccups as evidenced in the failed attempted 1981 coup led by Kukoi Samba Sanyang. The coup was repelled with the help of Senegal. The two neighbouring countries signed Senegambia Confederation from 1981 to 1989.The aftermath of the coup led to the introduction of the Economic Recovery Program, which left ordinary Gambians in economic pains.

Jawara ruled the country until July 1994 when a group of rag-tag soldiers dislodged him from power. The former President and his family were granted asylum in Senegal but were later exiled in London. The elderly former statesman returned home in 2002 after he was granted amnesty by his successor. He has since been living as a private citizen.

The Gambia’s history can never be complete without Sir Dawda Jawara whose ardent efforts resulted to the country’s independence. Many people describe Mr. Jawara as a great leader with exemplary character, a man who does not hurt his people with words or actions. During Sir Dawda’s reign, Gambians had enjoyed true democracy, the rule of law and human rights.

Kairo News and Radio wish Sir Dawda good health and long life as he celebrates his 91st birthday anniversary.



  1. Happy birthday sir Dawda kairaba JAWARA . You are truly a democrat who respects the fundamental rights of citizens and rule of law. Your long life is a testament of your character , a man who is not bitter , never Raise his voice on his fellow citizens, who is contended with what you have , most forgiving , and have sympathy for his people . Longevity is clearly related to these characters which is uniquely acquire by special people . Your character and temperament resulted to peaceful coexistence of Gambian people. By all indications your successor, dictator Jammeh is never going to have that peace of mind and stress free attitude which contributed to your longevity because his damn hands is soak with innocent Human blood .

  2. I’m not sure about birthday celebrations (I have never celebrated mine and don’t intend to start any time soon), but happy birthday Sir Dawda Jawara and congratulations on your 91st birthday…

    May Allah ( swt ) grant you more birthdays to celebrate so that your family, in particular, and the whole country, can continue to show our appreciation of your service to the nation…

    Congratulations to the Jawara Kunda and all their extended relations…

  3. Baboucarr Samba

    You’re a Great Gift to us. Unfortunately, we came to realise when the Devil sat in your seat. May Allah reward you for your invaluable services to your nation and her people.

  4. Alimatou Sarr

    Now I understand why our elders say they don’t want to live in Gambia without Jawara. Perhaps they knew the Ugly Devil would be in the detail. What a huge difference between Jawara and Jammeh!

  5. Malang Jarju

    We will forever celebrate your life and legacy. You’re a true son of the land; the man who used his knowledge to salvage his people from bondage and transform their lives.

  6. Alimatou, that mentality; GAMBIA WITHOUT JAWARA, is the cause of all wrath on our nation that all Gambia is experiencing today. Allah SWT commanded us to respect our elders and obey them does not mean that they are perfect. Bakary Bunja Darbo as I know of him in public office, is a hard working and honest citizen and many many more like him. How come our elderly statesmen say a pessimist phrase like that? obviously we cannot blame them for they were innocent not understanding very well what nationhood means.
    A U.S. warship was in the Gambia and, U.S marines were supposedly to engage in a joint training with the then GNA, only to find out at the end of the day Sir Dawda was on board it, negotiating with coupists in the Gambia presidential palace. Jawara(dad) in my humble opinion, over stayed in power when he could have set a much better example and legacy, though I love and respect him so for his peacefulness.
    May ALLAh grant him with good health and long live.

  7. sanneh nyancho

    Happy 91st birthday Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara. GCMG,GMRG the first president of the republic of The Gambia and the champion of human right.