EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: Gambia’s National Assembly Wednesday evening released a burial itinerary that indicates that the country’s first president Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara will be buried at the Assembly grounds in the capital, Banjul on Thursday.
Opinions indicate that the former President’s final resting place will be decorated in the form of a monument where students and other Gambians and the international community could visit anytime.
Mr. Jawara died on Tuesday at his home in Fajara, in the country’s coastal town of Bakau, at age 95. His remains will be laid in State on Thursday where he will be accorded a state funeral and lay to rest at the Assembly building at 16: 40 GMT.
The former statesman who led the tiny West African state from independence in 1965 to 1994, was ousted in July 1994, in a coup led by then army captain Yahya Jammeh.
He had served the country as Prime Minister from 1962 to 1970 under British colonial rule, before becoming president. He is expected to be accorded a state burial.
President Adama Barrow has announced a seven-day national mourning from Tuesday to show respect to the fallen former leader, who is described as Gambia’s founding father. He also ordered for the lowering of the national flag at half-mast.
Tuesday afternoon, President Barrow send condolences to the former statesman’s family, calling him a peaceful man which earned him the name “Kairaba Jawara” – meaning “Peaceful Jawara.”
Born May 16, 1924 in Central River Region village of Barajally, Sir Dawda Jawara was a son of a trader. He went to Methodist Boys’ School in Banjul, studied Veterinary Medicine at the University of Glasgow, Scotland, and qualified as a veterinary surgeon in 1953. Returning to The Gambia, he became Principal Veterinary Officer in 1957.
Under him, Gambia gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1965 and he remained as Prime Minister while Queen Elizabeth II remained as head of state.
In 1970, the country became a republic, with no monarchy, and Jawara was elected as first President but the greatest challenge to his power came in 1981 when an attempted coup d’état ensued the country and soldiers from neighboring Senegal were forced to intervene, with 400 to 800 deaths reported by the end of the coup attempt.