Friday, April 16, 2010

Kairaba Jawara Launched His Autobiography April 10

Banjul, The Gambia(MB)- The Former President of The Republic of The Gambia, Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara has launched a book on his autobiography
entitled ‘Kairaba’ (Peace), on Saturday 10th April, 2010 at the
Kairaba Beach Hotel in Banjul.

Kairaba, the autobiography of Gambia’s former leader, published in 504 pages in 33 chapters, depicts the life and
times of Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara from his early childhood, education, as
veterinary officer, Minister of Education, Prime Minister and President.

Born in a village known as Barrajally in 1924 in the Northern Central River Region, Sir Dawda in his book noted that he was educated at the Muhammedan School in Bathurst, now Banjul.
He studied veterinary in Ghana on a scholarship and Edinburgh,Scotland before
bagging his doctorate in veterinary. The book also highlighted his 40-year as
Head of the Peoples Progressive Party and his rule as Prime Minister and Head
of State of The Gambia
from 1965 to 1994.

In ‘Kairaba’, the author takes into account his tolerance, respect for democracy and the rule of law, the struggle for Independence,
the establishment of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in The
Gambia and the Senegambia Confederation. However, the highlights of the 1981
abortive coup led by Kukoi Samba Sanyang and Yahya Jammeh’s coup d’├ętat in 1994
will arguably keep devout readers in great suspense and turning the pages down
to the middle of the night.

The former, which Sir Dawda described in ‘Kairaba’ as an ‘Assault on Democracy’, almost, crippled a government with not enough security strength. However, the later in
1994 captures how he was overthrown and how he left the country in an American
Navy Ship to live in exile via Dakar, Senegal and later to the United Kingdom.
It also highlights the trials and tribulations of the former Gambian leader
during these periods, nonetheless, a book reviewer argued that 1994 coup led by
current president, Yahya Jammeh is ‘still too recent to be ready for historical
scrutiny as historians need to give time the time to become history’.

Be it as it may, taking into consideration of the significance of the event, the 1994 coup is worth being in the history books of The Gambia.

Taking into account of the most recent life of the Sir Dawda, ‘Kairaba’ gives a precise view of the events leading to his reconciliation with President Jammeh and his
subsequent home coming.

Giving a review of the book, Mr. Monie Ralph Captan, former Foreign Minister of Liberia pointed out that ‘Kairaba’ captures the beauty of African culture and tradition and the
life and times of Sir Dawda from the happiness of growing up and working in the
farm to the exposure of western education. “This process became an essential
necessity and Kairaba is a rich story of integrity, hard work, dedication and
patriotism,” the President of Liberia Chamber of Commerce said.

He noted that the opportunity for leadership came at the background of his party the ‘Peoples Protectorate Party but after due consideration he changed it to the ‘Peoples
Progressive Party. Mr. Captan, who is also the Chairman of GSM Company, Comium
in Liberia
outlined that nation building for Sir Dawda Jawara was about unifying people,
adding that his autobiography coincides with the history of The Gambia. He also
noted Sir Dawda’s contribution in building the democratic process of the
country, while citing that the clarion call does not depicts the smallness of Gambia but the
value of its democratic principles within and outside its boundaries.

“The author’s period in exile was another milestone and a challenge to protect his achievements in democracy, solidarity, peace and integrity,” Liberia’s
former Foreign Affairs Minister said.

Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara giving a word as the author of ‘Kairaba’ told the gathering that the idea of writing a book came to him at the turn of the 20th
century at the age of 75. “I thought of writing about the story of my life IN
1999, but it was only after seven years (in 2006) that I started my story by
granting an interview as a start for gathering my book, and memories begin to
flash through my mind,” Sir Dawda told a high level gathering.

He said: ‘I ventured into thorough research in order to ensure that those flashing memories are as authentic and accurate.’ “It took me 46 months to write this
autobiography but I never regretted it, there is no need to blow my own trumpet
though you need to hear from the horse’s mouth but in any case, I would want to
reflect on key moments in my life; the winning of the standard seven
photograph; the Cooper Prize and above all, the attainment of independence,”
Jawara said in his first major public statement on home soil since leaving
office in 1994.

Also speaking, the current President of The Gambia, Yahya Jammeh applauds Sir Dawda’s courage to bring his political career into the public space. However, President Jammeh noted that the
depiction of Jawara’s politics of The Gambia in the book is his personal view
of the country’s politics as former Head of State. “The country is bigger than
any one person. The action (coup) was not directed to him as a person but to a
system, unfortunately he was leader of,” President Jammeh said.

The Gambian Leader, who went on a long narration of Jawara’s life at State House in Banjul when he (Jammeh) was a guard, noted that Sir Dawda was an exemplary father as Head of State, in
approval of his parental care. He said that the book is very interesting as it
has given us an insight of his life from a veterinary officer to a politician.
“It was like a stage, you played your part and we felt that it was necessary
for us to take over and continue the act,” President Jammeh said.

However, he revealed that having leave office, Sir Dawda is still on salary for a life time and enjoys all the dues accorded to him (President Jammeh) when travelling
abroad. The book is a historical testimony in assessing the current political
system of The Gambia, Jammeh concluded.

The launching of the book was done by the former President of Sierra Leone, Ahmed Tijan Kabba, who noted that he could not say much on the Autobiography since he was yet to lay
hand on the copy at the time.

Nonetheless, he recognised the relationship of the former and present Heads of State as a true reflection of the relative peace in the country, saying all that I have heard
here are praises of either President Jammeh or Sir Dawda. However, he stressed
that a lot of people only make noise and forget the younger generation and I
think their concern is the development of this country. “It is from such books
that the future generation would learn how to continue the development of the
country,” he said.

Other speakers include the Nigerian High Commissioner to The Gambia, Mrs. Esther John Audu as a representative of Olisegun Obasanjo, the President of ECOWAS James Gbeho Victor and the two sons of Sir Dawda (Ebrima and Kawsu Jawara).

The book was sold to different individuals and institutions in what was called an auction to the tune of more half a million Dalasis (D590, 000) on the spot. President
Jammeh himself bought D270, 000 worth of books.

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