Monday, June 17, 2024

Old Man Musing: A Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara Tribute

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Tribute by: Hassan Gibril

H.E Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara (16 May 1924 – 27 August 2019)

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He would have been 100 years old, today, 16 May. But the leader of thousands and a friend to millions had passed away peacefully.

In the same peaceful manner that he had spearheaded, amid uncertainty, our independence, he had also peacefully taken over the mantle of leadership of our country, had peacefully retired from politics, then had peacefully passed on to his final abode.

One of the most peaceful and peace-loving leaders that Africa had ever produced, he had won independence for his country without a shot being fired and ascended to power in free and fair elections.

What a peacefully great statesman but also what a graciously peaceful human being Sir Dawda (as he was fondly called) had been.

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Needless to mention his deep love for his country, his unwavering commitment to the upliftment of his people, his unparalleled peaceful struggle for the promotion of the respect of one’s human rights; nay the dignity of the human being and humankind.

He had unquestionably been a global statesman and a genuinely committed internationalist who had fought throughout his public life for a fairer and a more peaceful world to such an extent, that Sir Dawda’s name had become synonymous with peace and human rights.

Indeed, we vividly recall, with tremendous pride, when Sir Dawda was appointed to head the Islamic Conference Mediation Commission which was established to bring about sustainable and enduring peace to the Iraq-Iran conflict.

We also remember when, his country, The Gambia, was meritoriously selected, out of the over 50 odd countries, as the seat and headquarters of the African Union Human Rights Commission and the Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies.

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No other leader in the entire Africa or indeed the Third World (past or present) could be credited with such lofty achievements.

Notwithstanding, Sir Dawda had remained true to his colours with such distinctive humility and remarkable humanity for which he was known the world over.

Suffice it to state that during Sir Dawda’s distinguished political career and leadership, he had continued to be steadfastly an ardent champion of peace, human rights and the rule of law.

Being a true patriot and Pan-Africanist like his former counterparts of our sub-region such as Kwame Nkrumah and Sekou Toure, Sir Dawda had felt a special responsibility towards Africa, a strong bond of affinity and real “kinship” so much so that he had ever been readily available and willing to reach out to others and, in so doing, had touched the hearts of many people, both at home and abroad, with his compassion, empathy and in short, his selflessness.

Sir Dawda, in all truth, and in whatever he had done or had to do (whether in private or public) had always led by example and by putting others first, thereby radiating genuine warmth, brilliance and kindness, on his side, and earning admiration and appreciation from others.

Sir Dawda would continue to be greatly missed by so many around the world and would always be dearly remembered by his own people of The Gambia whom he had led for some 30 good years after independence.

He would remain forever in the hearts of all those who had been privileged and honoured to know him, work with him and interact with him – at a personal or official level.

May the Almighty God grant him “Al Jannah” as his eternal final resting place.

Goodbye, once again, Sir Dawda, the leader and father of our nation.

Continue to rest peacefully in your Maker’s hands in His blissful Heavens where you rightfully belong.

Hassan Gibril

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