I wish to express my heartfelt condolences to the family, comrades, friends and indeed to the Gambian nation for the irreparable loss in the demise of Mathew K Jallow. I wish to call on my civil society folks and in particular member organizations of TANGO to celebrate the late Mathew K Jallow who just passed away. Mathew lived a life dedicated to the cause of the Gambia and her people. He was indeed the quintessential unwavering patriot.
I’ve never met Mathew in person but I had extensive conversations with him around 2011/12 about the history of TANGO. By then we were putting together a corporate brochure for TANGO as we launched a bi-annual policy dialogue to discuss pertinent issues of national importance. Mathew reached out to me to correct some of the information I had gathered and also to provide lot more.
He made me understand his role and the rationale for the formation of TANGO since 1982. Mathew was so central in the formation process of the association that until his demise he possessed the original documents which he was willing to share with TANGO. From his base in the US, he urged me to do more research on the story of this association. He once shared with me that,
“The first TANGO meeting was held at the Ministry of Agriculture conference room. We applied to use the place. Maybe you can look at all the applications for use of the conference room in 1982 and see our application on behalf of TANGO. I was at FFHC at the time.”
In fact Mathew told me that the idea of the creation of TANGO emerged at a Bantaba meeting in the Kiang village of either Kaiaf or Kolior as he and colleagues met the community. In that meeting, an old woman asked about the various and many NGOs at the time and how they were working with communities.
As we bid him farewell, it is fitting to pay tribute to a man who had contributed immensely to the building of this national asset, TANGO. From the many testimonies I’ve heard from civil society and political activists since his demise, Mathew has been recognized as a national freedom fighter who has been seeking to always contribute to the betterment of Mother Gambia to the best of his ability.
Throughout the period of the Yahya Jammeh tyranny, Mathew was known to be part of or led various movements, protests, events and efforts to restore democracy in the country. He was never found wanting, unwilling or lukewarm when it came to the promotion and protection of the best interest of the Gambia.
Agree or disagree with him as he was quite audacious with his views, it is clear to all and sundry that Mathew K Jallow has only one constituency and one objective which was the liberation and development of the Gambia.
I wish to therefore recognize and appreciate Mathew K Jallow as a national icon and an unwavering patriot to whom this nation owes gratitude. I pray his gentle soul rest in perfect peace.
Rest in power, Patriot.