EYEAFRICA TV: United States embassy in Banjul have written to Gambia’s presidency, expressing the entire US government mourning on the death of the West African state’s former Prime Minister and first President Tuesday morning.
Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara died on Tuesday at age 95. He led The Gambia from independence in 1965 to 1994, when he was ousted by then army captain Yahya Jammeh.
“On behalf of the American people and United States government, I offer our deepest condolences on the passing of the former Prime Minister and first President of the republic of The Gambia, Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara,” Ambassador Richard Carl Paschall III wrote.
Mr. Jawara 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 sent 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.
Jawara continued to rule until 1994 when a coup d’état led by former president Yahya Jammeh seized power. He went into exile, but returned in 2002, and lives in retirement until his death.
The country’s presidency praised his lead role in the liberation of Gambians, saying he led the country for thirty years, and under his leadership, The Gambia became one of Africa’s few successful parliamentary democracies; a champion of international peace, justice and human rights.