By Omar Bah
Nearly a year since he mysteriously left for the US after the December 2021 presidential election and months before the end of the term of the 5th Legislature, the former Upper Fulladu West NAM has broken his silence on the matter with candor.
Sanna Jawara earned admiration for his outstanding quality as a NAM starting with his revelation and exposure of President Adama Barrow’s controversial D10, 000 monthly payments to UDP NAMs in 2018.
His sudden disappearance from the scene led to widespread criticism with many claiming he had been shocked beyond repair by the defeat of UDP in the presidential election.
Speaking for the first time since he left, Jawara told The Standard that all due process was followed for him to leave for studies in the United States.
“My decision to take a break from active politics and go back to school came as a surprise to many, particularly those who I do not associate or interact with regarding my next steps in public life. However, this decision was taken two years before the end of my term in office after discussing it with my party leader Ousainu Darboe at his office in Pipeline,” he said.
Jawara further disclosed that for over two hours, he discussed the matter with Mr Darboe and they agreed that it is a culmination of self-reflection and a desire to be a more efficient public servant, that necessitated the endeavour. “I informed Mr Darboe that I will not seek re-election nor will I seek public office regardless of the outcome of the December 2021 presidential election but rather to go back to school to build my capacity in order to come back and serve both my party and country with merit. This is an advice that most of my friends and family endeared me to consider the moment I crossed the threshold of active politics. With support from my employer, the National Assembly, I even started working on this plan by undertaking a diploma course at MDI immediately after my discussion with my party leader, and before the end of my term,” Jawara said.
The former lawmaker said when he got an offer to pursue a BA degree in the US, he sought permission from both his constituency executive committee and council of elders, who are elected officials representing the diverse people from the villages, and wards within the constituency, and most importantly, the Speaker of the National Assembly, who by law pursuant to section 91(1)(g) of the 1997 Constitution has the sole discretion to grant him leave.
“So, with these permissions granted, I officially notified my party national executive and proceeded with the initiation of completing my registration process and eventual pathway into my degree programme in the political sciences.”
Darboe succession claims
Commenting on rumours that he is eyeing to succeed Ousainu Darboe as the UDP leader, Honourable Jawara tensely said: “I don’t think there are any rumours of that nature. I think you are, as journalists, on a fishing expedition trying to instigate or at least inspire a debate. It is true that every politician worth his/her salt wants to flourish and aspire for the greatest honour to serve in such capacities, however, I have not even started contemplating that assumption. We already have a good line of more qualified and suitable candidates to take over from him whenever he is ready to pass that baton. I still have a lot to learn.”
Commenting on the performance of the last legislature, Jawara said: “The problems we face today are partly the cause of our own doing including some of the dreadful decisions we made as a whole in the fifth legislature. My only hope and prayer to the members of the sixth legislature are to seek a common ground above and beyond what separates them to address some of the most pressing issues faced by the social, economic, and political injustices faced by the common people they represent, just as they did with the imprest unretirement of public officials, with the accountant general,” Jawara added.
The outspoken former MP added that throughout history God has never come down to solve terrestrial problems. “Not even for His prophets when they faced adversity. Many people think that a free society has always been the rule and not the exception, but it is exactly the opposite; free society has always been the exception, not the rule. No altruistic or benevolent leader has ever handed down progress for social, economic, or political justice to his/her people. It has always been the struggle of the common people demanding them, sometimes through bitter conflicts of ideologies and even revolutions. So the reason why the United States is admired across the world for its democratic expansion over the years, whether it was slavery, or segregation, Jim Crow, civil rights, LGBTQ+, climate change, it has always been the fight of the common people demanding and fighting for justice or injustices for which their respective leaders have to adhere to. The Gambia cannot progress unless the common people know their worth and demand justice in all fronts,” Jawara said.
Read more of the interview tomorrow.