EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: The fallen first Gambian president’s son has praised his father for what he called his ‘selfless’ sacrifice for the emancipation of Gambian people at all time, saying, “as a son and family, our father had taught us that there is no shortcut in life.”
During the laying in state of the remains of Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara at the National Assembly building in the country’s capital, Banjul on Thursday, Dawda Jawara Jnr said of his father had led them and the Gambia in the most dignified and humbled way.
Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara died on Tuesday at his home in Fajara, in the country’s coastal town of Bakau, at age 95. He is accorded a state funeral on Thursday and will be laid to rest at the Assembly grounds.
“Although he had his political opponents, but they have played significant role in the development of this country,” Dawda Jnr said, and added, “He face many challenges and crises in both public and private life but continued to treat Gambians equal.”
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.
He will be buried at the Assembly grounds in Banjul which was contested by many Gambians.
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.
Mr. Barrow sent his government’s condolences to the former statesman’s family Tuesday afternoon, calling him a peaceful man which earned him the name “Kairaba Jawara” – meaning “Peaceful Jawara.”
The country’s National Assembly speaker Mariam Jack-Denton also praised the late former President for his selfless duties to the Gambian people while his childhood friend Dr. Lamin J Marena said Mr. Jawara was a champion of democracy and human right.