I read the above article in your newspaper with immense interest and mixed feelings. First and foremost, I must quickly and sincerely admit that President Jawara was actually a strong and organised leader if what the piece depicts during his tenure is anything to go by. He was a great African leader who had a loyal vice president accompanied by a set of ministers with a great sense of respect and patriotism for this country. I was born a little over six years after the 1981 coup d’état, so I knew nothing about that mayhem which had brought so much fear and loss of life to our Smiling Coast other than what I heard from people. Many of them either fall short of the true picture of what really transpired that day or are totally exaggerated. For example, the late “Tambajang” of The Gambia police force was said to be an instrumental ‘invisible’ member of the loyal forces in the restoration of Jawara to power who saved the Central Bank from looters, bandits et cetera.
President Jawara, like his ministers back home, went to work immediately from the time he received the news of the coup while in the United Kingdom. The actions, focus and time he and the ministers committed to the restoration of the PPP-led government and democracy was a milestone worthy of praise. We all know now the sad events which took place between 30th July and 2nd August 1981. The coup was wrong. The rebel dummies who staged it gave no tangible reasons for coming up with the chaos since the flimsy excuse of losing an election and the allegations of nepotism against the Jawara administration were not strong enough to give it sufficient backing. The rebels were crazy birds with nothing to fill their meaningless lives with but hate and thanks to God they were not just denied that but also failed in their attempt to fan discontent within The Gambia. Kukoi was a coward who failed his colleagues and he was nowhere to be seen when the Senegalese took over the Greater Banjul Area except talking on Radio Gambia transmitters while on the run.
The cabinet’s coordination and unity as a team was strong and commendable during the course of the crisis. We deserve to know some of this history and thanks a lot to The Standard for publishing the excerpt.
Pa Musa Njie