THE GAMBIA: QURANIC RECITATION AND STATE FUNERAL OF SIR DAWDA KAIRABA JAWARA, GAMBIA’S FOUNDING FATHER

Source: www.africanakua.com | Suma Jadama, The Gambia

A Quranic recitation for late former President of the Gambia, Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara, has been held in a solemn event on Thursday, August 29, in the capital, Banjul.

The Imam Ratib of Banjul Cherno Alieu Mass Kah presided over the Quranic recitation for the departed soul of the former president at King Fahd Mosque grounds in Banjul.

The event  was attended by cabinet Ministers, scores of Muslims including the President of Supreme Islamic Council Alhaji Momodou  Lamin Touray, Chairman Banjul Muslim Elders, Alhaji Alieu Mboge, Caliph General of Pirang, Alhaji Seedou Mutar Gassama, heads of various political parties  and other Imams and scholars from far and near.

Muslim scholars and leaders at the Quranic recitation

Speaking at the occasion,  Imam ratib of Banjul Cherno Alieu Mass Kah said as part of their brotherhood responsibilities, Muslims ahead of burial rites of Sir Dawda’s remains organize the Quranic recitation for Allah to  have mercy on the departed soul of the former president  and admit him in Jannatul firdaus.

Imam Kah described  Sir Dawda as  a leader who had safeguarded the interest of  Gambians and humanity  irrespective of their political, religious or tribal difference.

Chairman of the Banjul Muslim Elders and the Secretary General of the People’s Progressive Party,  Alhaji Alieu Mboge and Papa Njie respectively highlighted numerous socioeconomic development endeavours of the former Gambian  President  while describing him as someone who championed Gambia’s independence, democracy, rule of law, good governance, animal health and environmental protection.

The son and senior member of the former President’s family, Tombong Jawara, described his father as an  excellent muslim, family head and statesman with impeccable humanitarian track record while praying for Allah to grant him a house in Jannatul firdaus.

Tombong Jawara also on behalf of the Jawara family  commended President Barrow and  Gambians   for commiserating with the Jawara family since the demise of their father.

The Imam of Niani  Barajally Talibo Ceesay and the President Supreme Islamic Council Alhaji Momodou Lamin Touray  described the former Gambian President  as a true Muslim who had  dedicated his entire life serving humanity according to the doctrines of Islam while enjoining Gambians to continuously prayed for his departed soul.

The Government of the Gambia was represented at the former President’s Quranic recitation by the Tourism Minister Hamat NK. Bah.

FUNERAL CEREMONY

The funeral rites of the former President were performed at The Gambia’s National Assembly Complex in Banjul.

There was a procession and filing past the body of the former President to pay the last respects to him. Then the assembly procedure began led by the Speaker, Hon. Mariam Jack Denton.

Several tributes to the late former President were read, eulogizing him and his work as an astute politician.

Sir Dawda’s remains were escorted by the Army and buried at the National Assembly grounds.

Former President Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara died on Tuesday, August 27 at his Fajara residence in The Gambia, at the age of 95.

Widows of the former President; Lady Njameh Jawara (Left) and Lady Chilel Jawara (Right)

ABOUT SIR DAWDA KAIRABA JAWARA

Jawara was born in Barajally, MacCarthy Island Division, the son of Mamma Fatty and Almami Jawara.

He was educated at the Methodist Boys’ School in Bathurst and then attended Achimota College in Ghana. He trained as a veterinary surgeon at the University of Glasgow’s School of Veterinary Medicine and then completed his training at the University of Liverpool. He returned to The Gambia in 1953 and married Augusta Mahoney, beginning work as a veterinary officer. He decided to enter politics and became secretary of the new People’s Progressive Party (PPP) and was elected to the House of Representatives in the 1960 election. He became the leader of the PPP and then the country’s first Prime Minister in 1962, only the second ever head of government following Pierre Sarr N’Jie’s term as Chief Minister.

Under Jawara, The Gambia gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1965. He remained as Prime Minister and Elizabeth II remained as head of state as Queen of the Gambia. In 1970, The Gambia became a republic, with no monarchy, and Jawara was elected as its first President. The greatest challenge to Jawara’s power came in 1981 when an attempted coup d’état took place and soldiers from neighbouring Senegal were forced to intervene, with 400 to 800 deaths reported by the end of the coup attempt. Following the coup attempt, Jawara and Senegalese President Abdou Diouf announced the creation of the Senegambia Confederation, but it collapsed in 1989.

Jawara continued to rule until 1994 when a coup d’état led by Yahya Jammeh seized power. Following this, he went into exile, but returned in 2002, and lived in retirement in The Gambia. At 95, he was the oldest former Gambian Head of State.

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