By Lamin Cham
One of the most renowned Gambian politicians, Lamin Waa Juwara, has passed away at his Brikama residence yesterday. He was 79.
Juwara was born in Niamina Dankunku and educated at Armitage High School and the University of Bulgaria. In the 1970s, he served as a local government officer and commissioner at most part of The Gambia before joining politics. He won the Niamina seat in 1992 on an independent ticket, famously beating the ruling PPP to the seat.
Wildly loved in the community who called him Mbarodi (lion) Juwara kept the seat until the 1994 coup rejecting demands to resign to join the PPP. He was among the first critics of the excesses of the Junta which locked him until after the controversial 1996 election. He bounced back from prison and as Propaganda Secretary of the UDP, his fame as an astute politician grew. He fell out with the party to form his NDAM.
Following failed attempts to unseat Jammeh’s APRC, through opposition coalition, Juwara joined cabinet as Minister of Lands for ‘national interest’ but swiftly fell out with Jammeh who slammed him with bogus charges from which a court later freed him. He retired quietly at his Brikama residence where he passed away yesterday. He was laid to rest with a large crowd of mourners, paying their last respects to a man who fought gallantly for the country’s political advancement.