Gambian President Adama Barrow reechoed Thursday the strong leadership qualities of former President Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara who was able to unite the country for a common cause.
“Importantly for The Gambia, President Jawara was a unifying figure who brought the diverse ethnic groups of this land together,” President Barrow said in his funeral eulogy delivered at the National Assembly building in Banjul.
President Barrow’s remarks came at a time when the Conflict and Development Analysis (CDA) issued a report, sounding the alarm bell over rising ‘tribal tensions’ in the country. Many people agreed that under Jawara regime, the unity of the country was preponderant regardless of the difference in political views and tribe.
The Gambian leader said President Jawara will be remembered for dedicating his life to the attainment of peace, progress and prosperity for his people through the political organisation he led from independence in February 1965 to July 1994 military takeover.
President Barrow declared seven days of mourning in honour of Sir Dawda who liberated the country from British colonial rule. He ordered for the flags to be lowered during the same period.
“For us, this is a moment of sadness, but also a moment to reflect on our lives and deeds. It is an event that should inspire all Gambians to strive to be counted among the successors of the great leaders who paved the path to salvation for us to follow,” he remarked.
In a statement filled with tears, the Speaker of the House, Mariam Jack Denton, lauded President Jawara’s leadership qualities, noting that he will be missed but will never be forgotten by Gambians.
Dr Lamin J. Marenah and Dawda Jawara Jr. expressed similar sentiments about Sir Dawda who put the country first before political or ethnic affiliation.
Gambia As A Safe Haven
In a marathon statement, the former Interim Chairman of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) thought Sir Dawda’s political legacy should be exemplified because Gambians are not only mourning, but they are also celebrating the life of a man who sacrificed his job to lead the crusade against colonialism. Omar Amadou Jallow further stated that in era marked by dictatorial tendencies, President Jawara turned the country into a safe haven for many Africans persecuted in their own country for expressing their political views.
Sidia Jatta of the People’s Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism (PDOIS), said Jawara demonstrated a high level of tolerance as evidenced by his (Jawara’s) lack of interest in crushing dissenting opinion.
Sidia Jatta, who vyed for the Presidency during Sir Dawda’s leadership, described him as an ‘immortal’ who dedicated his life in the service of others.