Recently, the Elders of The Faal Family of Latrikunda Yiringanya, in accordance with established tradition, met and selected Alhaji Omar M. O. Faal as the new Alkalo. This follows the sad demise of our brother Alkalo Alhaji Amadou Faal on 25 March 2020. The process used to select Alhaji Omar M. O. Faal recently, is the same process used in 2015 to select our late brother Alhaji Amadou Faal following the sad passing of our father Alkalo Alhaji M. O. Faal, who served for 24 years. May Allah be pleased with our late father and our late brother.
Established Tradition for Selecting the Alkalo of Latrikunda Yiringanya
The eldest patrilineal male member of the Faal Family is selected by the Elders of The Faal Family to accept the mantle and serve as Alkalo. The accordingly selected person has full discretion to accept the mantle of Alkalo or decline and designate the next in line, based on the same criteria. The Elders of The Faal Family are determined on generational basis, and since 2015, have consisted of the Brotherly generation. It is noteworthy that whereas Alhaji M. O. Faal was the last of the Fatherly generation to serve as Alkalo, Alhaji Amadou Faal was the first of the Brotherly generation. The simplicity and respect for age and eldership of this tradition has ensured that succession to the Alkaloship is straightforward and transparent. Also, it is a strictly observed protocol that succession matters are only discussed formally after the 40 days prayers for the departed Alkalo.
2015: Following the passing of Alkalo Alhaji M. O. Faal, and observance of protocol, the Elders of The Faal Family convened a meeting to select the new Alkalo. In attendance were the late Alhaji Amadou Faal, the late Alhaji Ebrima Faal, Alhaji Abdoulie Faal, Alhaji Omar M. O. Faal, Alhaji Mustapha Faal, Alhaji Alieu Faal and Alhaji Fabakary Ceesay (matrilineal Faal elder). The Elders selected the late Alhaji Amadou Faal as the eldest brother, to serve as Alkalo. The decision was communicated to the Imam of Latrikunda Yiringanya, Imam Alhaji Basirou Drammeh, and the new Alkalo was presented to the Latrikunda community at a meeting called by the Imam. Subsequently, the Imam wrote a letter to the Mayor of Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC), asking for Alhaji Amadou Faal to be formally appointed Alkalo by the Minister of Lands and Regional Government.
8 May 2020: Following the passing of our brother Alkalo Alhaji Amadou Faal, and observance of protocol, the Elders of The Faal Family convened a meeting to select the new Alkalo. In attendance were the same persons who attended the 2015 Alkalo selection, except for the two late brothers, Alhaji Amadou Faal and Alhaji Ebrima Faal. The eldest and, therefore eligible, Alhaji Abdoulie Faal (age 70) declared that he was exercising his sole prerogative and passed the mantle of Alkalo to brother Alhaji Omar M. O. Faal (age 68). This decision was unanimously endorsed by all the Elders.
On 9 May 2020, the Elders of The Faal Family communicated the decision to the Imam of Latrikunda, Imam Alhaji Basirou Drammeh. As is the custom, the decision regarding the new Alkalo was discussed with the Latrikunda community, at a meeting called by the Imam on 15 May 2020. The meeting was attended by community elders, youths, and the Faal Family, including the children of the late Alkalo Alhaji Amadou Faal. At the meeting, questions were asked and answers were given, and suggestions were also made and noted. As have been with previous Alkalos, Alhaji Omar M.O. Faal shall deploy his extensive professional and community experience for continued dedicated service, for the socio-economic, human and cultural development of all the people and families of Latrikunda (see his profile below). The Imam has written a letter to the Mayor of Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC), asking for Alhaji Omar M.O. Faal to be formally appointed Alkalo by the Minister of Lands and Regional Government.
We have come to the end of Ramadan, it is with humility that we renew our faith in Allah and pray for forgiveness and guidance. As a family, we renew our expression of thanks and gratitude to all the people and elders of the community. Latrikunda is a community with a long history of welcoming and integrating people, and long may this amicable culture continue. As we live in harmony and strive for the continued advancement of our Beloved Latrikunda and The Gambia, we extend our cordial Koriteh greetings to all and everyone. Eid Mubarak.
Signed: Alhaji Abdoulie Faal, Alhaji Omar M.O. Faal, Alhaji Mustapha Faal; 25 May 2020; Latrikunda.
Profile of Alhaji Omar M.O. Faal
From 1991 to 2015, Alhaji Omar M.O. Faal (Pa Omar Faal) served as Assistant to his father, the Late Alkalo of Latrikunda Yiringanya, Alhaji M.O. Faal. He served as Acting Alkalo for 8 months in 2003 (when the Alkalo was abroad), and again in between February and July 2015, upon the demise of his father. Omar M.O. Faal has been a local mobiliser, leader and financial supporter of youth, community and social development activities for about 50 years. He served previously on the Latrikunda Yiringanya Ward Committee, Serekunda West Youth Movement, and the Constituency Executive. In the late 1980s, he formed the Damel Football Club of Latrikunda. He has also been sponsoring the Serekunda West Sports Organisation (SWESO) Super Nawettan Trophy since 2016.
From 1988 to 1995, Omar M.O. Faal served as Independent Member of the Ports Labour Board, having been appointed by the then Minister for Health, Labour and Social Welfare, Hon. Mrs Louise Njie. He was later re- appointed Chairman of the Board from 2002 to 2008 by the then Minister of Trade and Industry, Hon. Musa Sillah. In 2018, Omar M.O. Faal was conferred the rank of Ambassador and appointed Ambassador-at-Large by the President of the Republic of The Gambia, H.E. President Adama Barrow. He is a Board Member of several private companies in The Gambia.
Omar M.O. Faal completed Gambia High School in 1971, and joined the ABC (Adonis, Banjul and Carlton) group of hotels, rising to role of Assistant to the General Manager at Carlton Hotel. In 1972, he became the protégé of Captain Bertil Harding, the Swedish aviator and businessman recognised as the ‘Father of Gambian Tourism’. Captain Harding trained him in Travel and Tourism Management, and sent him to Sweden on a professional study programme. Upon his return, Omar M.O. Faal was made Operations Manager of Harding’s Limited (Travel and Tour Operator), a position he held until February 1977.
By the age of 25, Omar M.O. Faal was one of the most accomplished professionals in the Gambian tourism sector, and was already a seasoned international business traveller. In 1974, he created the ‘Pa Omar Faal Prize for Commercial Maths’ at his alma mater, Gambia High School. In 1977, he established Damel Travel Services (DTS), the first indigenous Gambian ground operator, representing foreign tour operators from Europe, Africa and North America. By 1980, he had started hosting cruise ships at the Banjul docks, in an effort to diversify and expand the tourism sector in The Gambia. In 2004, Omar M.O. Faal received the ‘GTBoard Champion of Tourism Award’ in the name of Captain Bertil Harding, and proposed that the road from Kairaba Avenue Traffic Lights to the Tourism Development Area be named the Bertil Harding Highway.