Before Lt. Yahya Jammeh had stolen President Jawara’s mandate, our country and her diverse people were accorded with full respect across the world. The Gambia had proven to be a beacon of hope for those African countries that were searching for democracy, the rule of law, human rights, etc. It was for this reason that the smallest country on mainland Africa had beaten all her giant sister countries in hosting the African Commission for Human and People’s Rights. We didn’t get it for free, we earned the continental Human Rights Commission.
Everyone becomes a winner when a country does well. Who stands to enjoy more than a person at the helm of affairs? Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara became a symbol of peace and hope in Africa and beyond. Jawara’s uncontested democratic system would later turn Banjul into a center of diplomatic explosion. The former President was relied on to mediate peace wherever it is missing and desperately needed. Who doesn’t want to listen to a person who preaches from the heart? In a nutshell, Sir Dawda treated his subjects with humility, respect and compassion. He did not have the heart to bury anyone – not even his opponents or students who barricaded his car – six feet deep even when he caught them red handed backstabbing him. He either responded with few joking lines or invited them for discussion. This is true in the case of Lang Hawa Sonko, a former opposition driver at the Medical and Health Department. The National Convention Party supporter responded to Sheriff Mustapha Dibba’s every sentence at a political rally with “I told Kairaba Jawara but he didn’t listen.”
Jawara didn’t fire or put Lang Hawa behind bars. He invited him to State House and engaged him on his (Lang Hawa’s) allegations. Th charmng leader laughed off and complied when the accuser said: “Are you not the one who introduce us to democracy which is all about freedom of expression? I will say anything that’s legal. Dig into your pocket and give me money.”
Lang Hawa joked about his fascinating encounter with the President wherever he went. He was never a fan of Sir Dawda’s ousted People’s Provressive Party but Lang Hawa’s love for Jawara’s style of leadership and the fear of tasting a new dawn had compelled him to join the pro-PPP demonstrators in 1994. He knew the dangers but Lang went for it because he feared the so-called “Soldiers with a Difference” would wipe out Jawara’s system of governance and replace it with jungle justice.
Unfortunately, most of our elites did not see what an unlettered person like Lang Hawa had seen 21 years ago. What is the essence of an education when its holder cannot observe, connect dots and predict the future? Did I hear you bragging of being an intellectual? Yes you are an intellectual prostitute whose judgment becomes clouded when it comes his/her selfish interest.