Honorable Seyfu Kebba Tamba Jammeh was born in 1935 to Paramount Seyfu Mama Tamba Jammeh of Badbibu Illiassa and Binta Jadama of Baddibu Jumansar, both of whom come from ruling families belonging to the five ruling clans of Bijankerr.
He was the only Son of his mother in her marriage to Mama Tamba and second youngest of all of Mama Tamba’s sons.
He was enrolled in school at a very early age attending Illiassa Primary School, and then moved to Armitage High School from 1947 to 1952, before ending up at the Boys High School from 1952 to 1955.
Following his graduation from the Boy’s High School, he landed his first job as a dispenser at the main Hospital in Banjul. After a brief period, he left and enrolled at a Government-run Clerical School where general principles on Administration are taught to prepare for clerical jobs in government departments. Upon completion from that School, the colonial government appointed him as a Clerk and later posted him to Marine where he became the Bursar in charge of all passenger fares riding on Lady Wright and Fulladou from Banjul to the provinces.
Him and some educated provincial youths in the mid-1950s founded the Protectorate People’s Society in Banjul which later became the nucleus and metamorphosed into the Protectorate People’s Party (PPP).
In response to popular demand, he resigned as Bursar to return to Baddibu and got himself elected as Chief by succeeding his Father, Mama Tamba, in 1963. He ruled for 19 years.
During his reign, he brought unprecedented development to Farafenni and to all the people of Upper Baddibu District. First and foremost was the systematic transformation and expansion of Farafenni into the main business center not only for the North Bank Division/Region but for the whole of the northern part of the country and also as a rural city with well laid out roads.
Furthermore, he successfully lobbied and hosted the National Youth Week Celebrations in May 1980 in Farafenni attended by government functionaries, dignitaries and youths drawn from across the country. Before the event, he insisted that pipe borne water and electricity are made available in Farafenni which were installed as well.
Prominent among Seyfu Kebba’s achievements and development projects he brought to Farafeni and surroundings include the following:
1. The setting up of the Chamen Youth and Agriculture Training Centre in 1978/79, which currently houses the Gambia Songhai Initiative.
2. He was Chiefs’ representative in the House of Representatives from 1972 to 1977 and served as Deputy Speaker to Dr. S. HO Jones until 1977.
3. During that period, Chief Kebba was also representing The Gambia at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Group until 1977.
4. The Farafenni Community/Youth Centre was built under his watch in 1963 and then managed by the Farafenni Youth Club.
5. Allocation of Land to the Medical Research Council (MRC) for a Field Site in Farafenni established in 1983. Insecticide Treated Bed Nets developed at this Site are today saving millions of lives in the world against malaria. In 2010, MRC donated the Site to the University of the Gambia and now home to the University’s North Bank Campus.
6. Allocation of Land to the Anglican Vocational Training Centre (AVTC) for a School in Farafenni to train youths with livelihood skills. Sir Dawda K. Jawara, former President of the Gambia graced the laying of the foundation stone ceremony of Centre held on Sunday 27th March 1977 and also attended by Sir Alieu Jack, former Minister of Works and Communication, Seyfu Kebba Tamba Jammeh himself, Deputy Imam of Farafenni, among others. The first batch of students enrolled in September 1979.
7. SEGAMCO LTD., a Gambian/Senegalese joint venture set up by him in Farafenni around 1983 locally producing simple farming tools like horse carts, sine hoes, seeders, etc.
8. The initiator of the weekly Farafenni Lumo.
9. The Baptist Mission also set up base in Farafenni during the period of his Chieftaincy.
10. Under his influence, the Veterinary Camp was also set up in Farafenni.
11.In every village of Upper Badibou District, Seyfu Kebba Tamba Jammeh, was either able to bring them a women garden, dig a bore hole for them or do some sort of development during his 19 years rule so much so that one would not fail to encounter someone or two in any village who would not mention a project that he was able to bring to the village.
Hon. Seyfu Kebba Tamba Jammeh ruled with upmost love for his people under a climate of tranquility and development. However, he was removed as Chief in 1982 when he fell out with the then ruling PPP government after he was accused of being a sympathizer of the perpetrators of the 1981 failed coup attempt on the PPP government. He was also accused of harboring NCP opposition sympathizers.
He returned to public service in 1992 as elected Member of Parliament, ironically, on the ticket of the PPP government for Upper Baddibu Constituency.
Thereafter, Sir Dawda K. Jawara, then President of the Republic of the Gambia, appointed him as Parliamentary Secretary (Deputy Minister) on 11th May 1992 assigned to the Ministry of Agriculture.
He remained in that portfolio as well as Member of Parliament up to the time of 1994 military coup led by Yahya Jammeh that overthrew the Jawara Government.
Kebba 92, as he became fondly known, did not retire from politics as a result of the coup. Instead, he went on to join forces with like-minded politicians to found the United Democratic Party (UDP) in 1996. In fact, he is credited to have given the Party its name, and proposed Hon. Ousainou Darboe as Leader of the Party.
He is well read, authored many opinion papers on a broad range of issues and widely travelled across Africa, America and Europe.
Hon. Seyfo Kebba Tamba Jammeh died on 17th February 2000 at the age of 65. He is survived by three wives and children who continue to pursue his vision centered on selfless service to humanity.