Fellow Gambians – It took large portions of the night twisting and turning caught up in deep reflection reminiscing on the meaning contained in the below correspondence, and what today’s politicians, and us, as a society may learn from it. Please take a moment or two read and digest on the significance and lessons to gather from the letters. It dates way back to a 1972 resignation letter from then Vice President Sheriff M.Dibba and what Sir Dawda wrote in reply. I shall offer my take thereafter:
No. 1 Marina Parade
Bathurst, The Gambia
15th September 1972
Dear Sir Dawda,
You informed me during the course of our discussion on 13th September, that preliminary Police enquires have revealed that the Land Rover involved in the recent smuggling incident, collected my brother (who was onboard the vehicle at the time it was arrested in the Republic of Senegal) at No. 1 Marina Parade and that the contraband goods impounded by the Senegalese Authorities were allegedly loaded into the Landrover at the said premises.
I would like to assure you that I stand high among all Gambians in condemning this shameful crime which had not only caused serious embarrassment to your Government, but to my humble self and it is my view that all the culprits should be brought to justice.
In view of the circumstances on this matter. I have regrettably decided to resign from the office of Vice President, in accordance with Section 46(c) of the constitution with effect from today. In taking this decision, I wish to inform you that I have no knowledge of this crime when it was being committed, and that I wish to declare my innocence.
Finally, I would like to thank you, and all my colleagues in the Government for the way in which all of you co-operated with me in the execution of my duties as Vice President and leader of the House of Representatives and you can continue to rely on my loyal support for the Party and Government.
Yours very sincerely,
(SGD) SHERRIFF M. DIBBA
SIR DAWDA K. JAWARA,
PRESIDENT OF THE REPIBLIC OF THE GAMBIA,
BATHURST, THE GAMBIA.
THE PRESIDENT’S OFFICE,
BATHURST, THE GAMBIA.
15TH SEPTEMBER 1972.
I have received your letter of 15th September 1972 in which you informed me that in view of the serious embarrassment caused to the Government by the involvement of a member of your family in a recent smuggling incident, and considering that the contraband items were alleged to have been loaded on a vehicle at No. 1 Marina you have decided to resign from office of Vice President with effect from 15th September 1972.
With much reluctance I accept your resignation. I appreciate the dedication and high sense of responsibility to the Nation which has prompted this difficult decision on your part, and I can assure you that I have no doubts as to your innocence. In hope therefore in consonance with your pledge of loyal support for the Party and Government you will continue serve as Minister of Finance. In keeping with the usual practice in these matters. I am publishing your letter and my reply for the information of the public.
(SGD) DAWDA K. JAWARA,
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE GAMBIA
What an era of righteous men. And what a time in Gambian politics showcasing high ethical standards, and moral values successive generations of Gambians are brought up to uphold. Folks the name-tag smiling coast bestowed on the country and the ensuing good reputation the Gambian people are known for world-wide is no coincidence, rather skills and a way of life passed on from generations-past. Suddenly, simplicity, honesty came to define us, the Gambian way as tools of life we had treasured & extend to each new generation; well until Yahya Jammeh happened. Something stood out for me in these letters, the former VP wrote – I would like to assure you that I stand high among all Gambians in condemning this shameful crime which had not only caused serious embarrassment to your Government, but to my humble self and it is my view that all the culprits should be brought to justice.
In President Jawara’s reply, there was no sense or even a hint of malice nor ill-will, rather all done with candour and decorum, but also protocol amidst the stakes of high-politics. Both men recognised the seriousness of the matter & for justice to be seen to take effect, country first. And I tell you something else, people of high ethics do not like embarrassment, nor situations of tarnished reputations, so again, both men looked to the law as the leveller, and a deterrent also. In view of the major challenges facing the country on the way forward, I wish to offer sincere gratitude and thanks to Maila Touray, Iman Baba Leigh, political science professor Ismaila Ceesay, and the economist, Nyang Njie – all Gambians of impeccable character. In this new Gambia, let us learn to care for one another, uplift each other and to lend a hand where needed. No one is going to come & build Gambia to our liking, but us, Gambians. Special thoughts also reserved for our very own Real-Estate maestro Taf Construction, Prestine Consulting, and all such Gambian entities creating jobs and opportunities to young graduates up and down the country.
Gibril Saine, LONDON