Speaking to The Standard at the home of the deceased in Mamakoto, Bakau, yesterday, his cousin, Dembo Gassama, said Mr Makalo died in Dakar where he had been receiving medical treatment for an undisclosed illness.
He eulogised: “This is a great loss to our family because Foday Makalo was a great person who had love for his family and humanity. The news of his death in Dakar reached us on Sunday at about 9:30 pm. The burial is taking place in Dakar and some members of the family have left to attend. This is a very sad day for all of us.”
Kemo Singhateh, who said he knew Foday from childhood, recalled: “I was in the same class with Foday in Baddibu Kinteh Kunda Primary School from 1957. Though he was my senior by one year we were close friends and he was a great person. He proceeded to Armitage High School and upon graduation became a teacher and he taught in different divisions. He entered politics in 1972. We remained friends throughout and he would even sepnd the night at my house in Banjul. My sense of loss for the great man that he was cannot be over-emphasised.”
Bessie Makalo of Bakau, a sister to the deceased, said: “We are not oblivious to the fact that for every soul there is an appointed time of death. We accept Allah’s decree that he lives no more.”
He is survived by many children and two wives.
Mr Makalo surreptitiously went into self-exile after he fell out with the APRC in 2001. While rumours of his purported assassination gained a lot of currency, Mr Makalo was in fact based in Mali where he had since taken another wife.
The Standard has also learnt that he was in Germany a few months ago to visit his daughter and grandchildren.
It is not known why the body of the late politician was not brought to his homeland for burial. However, many believe the controversy surrounding the abortive repatriation from Dakar of the body of Buba Baldeh may have resulted in the decision by the Makalo family to commit Foday’s remains to the soil in Dakar.
Mr Makalo and Mr Baldeh’s political lives followed a similar chequered and ultimately tragic trajectory.]]>