As thousands of Gambians stormed Thursday the National Assembly in Banjul to witness the burial ceremony of Sir Dawda, the country’s political class was unanimous on extoling his exemplary leadership.
United Democratic Party (UDP) leader, Ousainou Darboe told this medium that Jawara succeeded in saving the destiny of the country and nation as he was able to hold firm on his grounds for the respect of democratic principles and human rights.
He went on to say that Jawara’s key leadership traits are worth emulating, calling him “Gambia’s George Washington.”
“His humility, respect for the rule and his devotion to the cause of peace are virtues that can be emulated,” he emphasized. “He has taught us by his actions and words that without multipartism there can be no progress. We should be accepting dissenting views however distasteful this may be.”
Former President Dawda Kairaba Jawara was laid to rest Thursday evening at the National Assembly grounds. President Adama Barrow declared seven days of mourning as State-burial was held to honour Gambia’s Liberator.
The UDP National Assembly Member for Serrekunda West, Madi Ceesay, noted that Sir Dawda had laid a solid foundation for multiparty democracy.
“This is a man who had stood for multiparty. That is a legacy nobody can take from him,” he remarked while indicating that Jawara was determined to put the country on the path to democracy and rule of law.
“That is one of the valuable legacies that Gambians can take from Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara,” he added.
When asked about the Conflict and Development Analysis (CDA) report, suggesting that “tribal tensions are on the rise in Gambia,” the Serrekunda West parliamentarian blamed President Barrow’sgovernment.
“If politicians can rely on Sir Dawda’s political legacy, I think the issue of tribal politics will become irrelevant,” he pointed out. He urged President Adama Barrow’s gov’t to desist from perpetuating themselves in power.
For his part, Halifa Sallah of the People’s Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism (PDOIS) said the passing away of Sir Dawda constitutes a moment of stocktaking.
He said Jawara came into politics when the colonial power opted for internal self-government as the was the way forward. He said that is why he was picked to serve as Premier in 1962.
Subsequently, the Serrekunda Central NAM seized the opportunity to revisit Gambia’s political history,. He further stated that the “No” won the 1965 referendum, demanding the end of British colonial rule. But the independentists, led by Jawara, emerged victorious in the second referendum that took place in 1970.
PDOIS emblematic figure is in concord with many people about President Jawara’s uncompromising stance against tribalism.
“Everybody knows that he was somebody who never allowed himself to be dragged into tribal politics,” he confirmed.
Similar sentiments were expressed by PDOIS MP for Banjul North, Ousman Sillah who described Sir Dawda as a “great unifier” , adding that he brought under the same tent those living in protectorate area and in the colony.
“Gambians should really emulate him in unifying the people as one,” he said.
Meanwhile, an online petition addressed to the National Assembly is gaining traction in the cyberspace. The initiators of the petition are calling on the country’s legislators to rename Banjul International airport after the late Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara (http://chng.it/67TzvcJw).