Friday, January 21, 2011

On Sir Dawda Jawara, Gambian's First President

NEWS BANJUL THE GAMBIA (MB)- Sir Dawda Jawara, The Gambia first President, led The Gambia to independence on February 18, 1965 and held on as Prime Minister until 1970 when the country became a Republic.

Sir Dawda Jawara  gave an account  post= independence  Gambia under his rule  in an interview  with Gambia News and Report Magazine at his residence on Atlantic Road in Fajara on  Tuesday 11th January 2011.

 He said his party the People Progressive Party (PPP) came from the  Protectorate Peoples Party. When he was selected to the lead the party,  the party first launched its campaign in  the rural  parts of the country.   He later  urged  that  the  party name should be changed to the Peoples Progressive Party (PPP) and in  the electionx,  the PPP won a majority of  the seats.

According to him,  after gaining   independence, the Gambia wanted  to change  from a monarchy to a republic.  But at  1965 referendum the government  did  not get  the  two thirds  of the vote needed to have a republic ;  it was  not until  1970 referendum that the Gambia became a republic.

 “Road development was our first priority, because there was no good road condition in the 1960s and traveling in the rural part of the country at that time was very difficult”, he said.

 Looking back to his schoool days, he  said   World-War II  had  a great impact on  the lives of Gambians, saying  that communication  between  Gambia  and the  rest of the world  was restricted by the Atlantic War waged by German submarines. Exportation and importation of goods was affected and  made  the cost of living hard for  Gambians.
He also said Gambian soldidrs    were  forced  to   fight  in the war distingushing themselves at the Kaladan River crossing in Burma At  the time there was fear in Banjul that  the Vichey Government which contolled Senegal  was going to make  an attack from Dakar.
    On the 1981 coup attempt  by Kukoi Samba Sanyang, Jawara accused the Libyan leader Muhammod Ghaddifi of being behind the coup. He accused the Libyan government for supporting the coup leader Kukoi Samba Sanyang,
He said his government had gathered information that the Libyan government was training people to send them back to their countries to fight their governments saying that was the reason his government had earlier broken diplomatic relation with Libya.

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