His Excellency, the late Vice President, Badara Alieu Joof

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By Ambassador Professor Muhammadou MO Kah

Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un. Surely, we belong to Allah and verily to Him do we return.

Our thoughts, prayers, and condolences for the late Vice President, Badara Alieu Joof, are extended to his dear wife, Fatou Sonko, his children, family, and friends. Our sympathies are also extended to His Excellency President Adama Barrow, the First Family, the cabinet, the many students mentored by our late Vice President, The Gambia’s Diaspora and all those who loved him across The Gambia and beyond.

Our late Vice President was a man who occupied many roles in Gambian society over the course of his lifespan: he was a teacher, a brother, a friend, and former cabinet minister; and over all, a kind, brilliant and professional gentleman. A gentle soul who served our country diligently with full commitment and devotion to public service and exceptional performance. He carried a light with him that shone brightly, a conscientious and measured voice that ushered positive transformation in the institutions he provided leadership, and ensured delivery of a vision so incredibly impactful for the Gambian people.

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As a young boy, I recalled fond memories of him and his very close friendship with my Uncle, the late Babou Loum (RIP). He and his close circle of friends (I recall amongst them, Ambassador Maudo Touray and Ebrima Jallow (Kissinger) used to camp at our family compound in the mid ’70s at Otto Road-27 Gloucester Street, Banjul hosted by aunty Ajaratou Ndey Njie. As a young boy, I used to listen keenly to their exchanges, their sense of humour, intense debates on diversity of topics and analysis of BBC’s Focus on Africa programme over brewed attaya and prepared lunches.

As I reflect on my time with him many years ago as young boy and one of his students in his English Literature class (1980-81) at Nusrat High School, I recall his sharp and tactful diligence and the zeal he possessed for quality teaching. His interest and encouragement in my educational pursuits and progress were a true source of inspiration, that I remembered fondly as I continued on my path to becoming an educator and later on academic leadership in the duration of my tenure as the third and first Gambian Vice Chancellor of The University of The Gambia. I dearly cherish his unwavering support for myself and my family, and continued mentorship until his final days. I will always remember his grace, love for literature and poetry, commitment to education, devotion to country, and the illumination of his spirit. A truly magnetic personality whose warmth, joyousness, and optimism were key to my, as well as the many others that traversed his classroom, personal development.

During his tenure as Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, and his short tenure as our Vice President, we appreciate and will aways remember his huge contributions to our democracy. His efforts in strengthening the higher education system and moves to improve government and public service performance, and delivery of public services positively uplifted the lives of the Gambian people and accelerate national efforts to meet our collective aspirations for a brighter Gambia.

His Excellency Vice President Badara Alieu Joof, inspired us all and will continue to be among the rare national torchlights who are remembered for their commitment to a better Gambia for all. Undoubtedly, he will be sorely but dearly missed; a great son of The Gambia, a highly accomplished public servant, and leader. Indeed, we are thankful to the Almighty with profound gratitude as we reflect upon his life and that we could share in his radiance for some time; his legacy shall live on.

Yalna Sa Soof Sida. Yalna la Yalla Yerem te Ter tu la Ajanstul Firdaus. May his Soul Rest in Peace. Ameen!

Professor Muhammadou MO Kah is The Gambia’s Ambassador to Switzerland and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Organisations at Geneva, WTO and Other International Organisations in Switzerland.