The recent brouhaha over the comments by Hamat Bah viewed by the PPP as derogatory to the good name and legacy of former president Jawara underlines the revered nature of Sir Dawda and his legacy, which must be protected at all times. And deservedly so. While we do not want to take sides with the PPP, we must hasten to indicate that the PPP’s position is shared by most Gambians when it comes to Sir Dawda. Yes, Sir Dawda was a public figure and politician and therefore not above criticisms, dead or alive. However, his unique contribution and pioneering role in the making of this very nation we now call home, both politically and indeed in the early physical landscaping of that same country, and in view of the fact that governments or presidents come and go, it is out of place for a state minister to cast aspersions on such a person like the founding father of that nation. First thing, the very statement that he did not put any road in his native, goes to explain that, unlike his contemporaries in Africa at the time, most of whom not only built roads but mansions and castles in their home areas, Sir Dawda demonstrated his value as a decent, incorruptible leader who did not want to take a dollar from his poor and impoverished nation to spread luxury among his people and region. Sir Dawda knew that using his influence or abusing his office to specifically direct deliberate development projects to his home or region will tantamount to dictatorship which he did not have any inclination of exercising.
Secondly, Sir Dawda had very little resources compared to today and any suggestion to use his position to favour his village or region from that little national resource would be abhorrent to a man like him. Thirdly, this nature of criticisms about Jawara is in fact a testimony of the good statesmanship of the man, who would prefer the national cake to be shared across the other areas of the country first, instead of using his office to give it to his native area.
In our view, state minister Bah has forayed into an unnecessary storm he created out of a slip of the tongue and he should learn from it to stay clear of brewing further unnecessary storms.