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KairaCLO Plants Trees to Honour Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara’s 100th Birthday

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Chief Justice Hassan Jallow & Other Attendees At The KairaCLO Tree Planting

By Ramatoulie Jawo 

The Kairaba Conservation and Leadership Organization (KairaCLO) held a ceremonial tree planting exercise to celebrate the centenary of the Gambia’s first president, Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara’s birth.

Born on May 16, 1924, in Barajally, McCarthy Island Division, Sir Dawda’s legacy as a statesman spans from his tenure as Prime Minister (1962-1970) to his presidency (1970-1994).

Renowned for his promotion of democracy and respect for human rights, Sir Dawda’s visionary leadership places him among the most esteemed presidents in Africa and the world.

In honour of his centenary, the Kairaba Conservation and Leadership Organization (KairaCLO) held a tree planting ceremony as part of their centenary celebration. This event, themed “National Resilience Through ‘Tesito’ Self Reliance, Human Rights, Democracy, and The Rule of Law,” commemorated Sir Dawda’s 100th birthday.

The commemorative event saw the planting of trees at two significant locations: the National Assembly of The Gambia, Sir Dawda’s final resting place, and the Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara Conference Centre in Bijilo.

Five saplings took root at the National Assembly, planted by notable figures such as Chief Justice Hassan Bubacarr Jallow, Rt. Honourable Speaker Fabakary Tombong Jatta, Bishop of Banjul Gabriel Mendy, CSSP, the Police Commissioner of Banjul representing the IGP, and Honourable Madi MK Ceesay, National Assembly Member for Serekunda West.

Speaker Fabakary T. Jatta highlighted the significance of commemorating Sir Dawda’s centenary with tree planting, recalling the Banjul Declaration of 1977, which emphasized environmental conservation long before global awareness of climate change.

“I think this is a befitting one. The man who led us to independence during those most difficult times, when other people believed that Gambia could not be an independent state. He led the foundation for what we are today. The most befitting also is to recognize this centenary by planting trees. I remember the Banjul Declaration in 1977, how many years back? When the world hardly thought about climate change and all these things were seen by the man we are celebrating today,” Hon. Jatta remarked. He praised Sir Dawda’s foundational contributions to The Gambia, encompassing brotherhood, rule of law, democracy, good governance, and humility, and expressed hope that these principles would continue to guide the nation’s future.

Chief Justice Hassan Bubacarr Jallow stressed the importance of preserving Sir Dawda’s legacy for future generations and prayed for the protection of the country Sir Dawda so diligently served.

He added that the late Sir Dawda showed the value of democracy, peace and respect for human rights to the Gambians.

Bishop Gabriel Mendy praised Sir Dawda’s global recognition as a man of peace, noting that his administration gave the Gambia a strong international reputation for peace and inclusivity.

“The late Sir Dawda has maintained peace in this country, and he was recognized and known worldwide as a man of peace. It was during his government’s administration that The Gambia gained a very good reputation worldwide. He recognized everybody as a human being regardless of your tribe, or religion, and he worked with everybody. So on this day, we mark his birthday, and we thank god for his life. His noble values are embodied and promoted in this country,” he highlighted. Ambassador Ramzia Diab-Ghanim, Vice Chair of KairaCLO, highlighted the importance of environmental conservation, reflecting on the legacy of the Banjul Declaration since 1977.

“Today is a very auspicious day for us, and I am happy. We all gather here to plant these trees in memory of what Sir Dawda has shown since 1977. He showed what was coming globally, and this is the vision he has today,” she said.

Former Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou called on the government to plant one million trees nationwide in the next year to honour Sir Dawda’s legacy.

“As long as we continue to talk about human rights and respect for the rule of law in the Gambia, and the African region, thanks to Sir Dawda for his vision, commitment, passion for principles, and position for fundamental rights. So, therefore, we should all pay tribute to sir Dawda and there is no better way than planting trees on his behalf,” he said. 

Demba Ali Jawo, former Minister of Information, praised Sir Dawda’s enduring environmental legacy, particularly his commitment to the Banjul Declaration.

“Sir Dawda, left a very positive legacy in this country, and when it comes to the environment, we all remember the Banjul Declaration of 1977, so he was very passionate about keeping the environment clean. So am very happy to be associated with this project of planting trees in memory of our Father,” he said.  

Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara, remembered for his dedication to tolerance, human rights, and the rule of law, passed away in 2019. His enduring legacy continues to inspire the people of The Gambia.

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