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 RIP Lamin Waa Juwara

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Momodou Posted - 07 Mar 2022 : 12:50:37
Lamin Waa Juwara a veteran politician, and former Minister passed away.

My sincere condolences to his family and friends.

May Allah (SWT) forgive him his shortcomings and grant him Jannah.
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Momodou Posted - 08 Mar 2022 : 11:46:15
Indeed Mbarodi (Waa Juwara's) departure is a sad loss to the Gambia, his family and friends. He was a fearless politician and yes I was a living witness to this testimony Dembo Fatty. I was among those young ones first year in Armitage~ "A Green Leaf" if you may fittingly put. I remember every moment of that incident and Waa the then Commissioner fed us for two days ~ at least he facilitated it. The students were no doubt going to burn down the school if there was no intervention. Waa bravely walked to the campus numerous times not fearing any attacks ~ that's how brave he was... he never shy away from intervening even in the mid of dangerous village farm crisis.

Rightfully so he asked the students to disperse and go home. Of course this was after the protest meeting with President Jawara at Sankulay Kunda as you described. Come to learn Ebrima Chongan was one of the commanders of the forces. He made sure the students were able to meet the President. Jawara teased Mbasiray Saidybah who was the deputy head girl that "she wasn't looking like someone starving" he was joking to soften the temperature and everybody laughed!

When Mbarodi asked the students to go home and wait for his solution, that was the most exciting moment and the fastest time the manual ferry got to the other side.

Waa was an incredibly brave politician. He served his Niamina Constituency as an independent MP and later joined the PPP where he belonged anyway. He was good at demystifying fake strong men in power. He would challenge them directly such as strong chiefs across all divisions in the Gambia.

The Gambia will forever be indebted to Hon. Waa Juwara and his family! Unfortunately, the death sentence of political opposition where you cannot secure a job lead him to join the dictators' regime at a very high cost. He stood up to those young arrogant soldiers and he paid a heavy price for it. May Jannah be his eternal resting home. I hope whenever they build the Niamina Choya Dankunku highway, they name it after this distinguished citizen.. Rest in eternal peace Mbarodi. Gonleymah mochee!

By Demba Baldeh
Momodou Posted - 08 Mar 2022 : 11:39:39

By Dembo Fatty

The death of Waa Juwara has been announced and I paid my condolences already, catapulted partly because his service to country especially in the area of local government having served as Commissioner in all the five regions attributed to him but also because I remembered how he helped me and my fellow students when we ran out of food.

On one night in 1987, we were summoned to the school Assembly Hall to receive the sad story that there was no food in the school food store and we were advised to go to sleep on empty stomachs.

This instruction was not well received by the students. Imagine 500 students in a Boarding school with no recourse to help from home and some as young as 13. The lunch was so small a ration that even prisoners of war would protest. Don't ask about the breakfast. It was just ten table spoons of very watery rice porridge. Some students won't mind skipping breakfast if they could get a cup of water instead.

On this night we wanted to strike and probably burn the school down if not for the quick intervention of Pa Joof our Mathematics teacher, a well respected teacher. He had more respect from students that any teacher, even the Principal which the latter knew.

And so Pa Joof was asked to speak to us and everyone complied. We were told that the tractor loaded with rice from the GPMB station at Kuntaur broke down.

Here was where late Waa Juwara came in. As the Commissioner, he opened the food stores of the World Food Programme and we were donated several cans of corned beef and some bread from the wasulung part of Georgetown. We all quickly devoured our rations, walked down to the school taps, drank enough water to give ourselves a sense full stomach.

I would like to express to his family, the gratitude of the 500 students he helped. We salute his quick intervention and forever grateful.

We were not satisfied and the next day a few students convened to seek a final solution to our problems. Students slept on floors, some spread mats in classrooms because there were no tables. Our count showed that only about 50 students had classroom furniture which means 450 students were without.

The few lucky ones carried their tables and chairs to their rooms during breaks or risk being stolen. Sometimes you stole your best friend's table or his bed or his mattress. Desperate situations can bring forth the demons in us and morality became a causality as it was eat or be eaten.

Sometimes we stole tables at 2am most of which were tied to beds. You went to sleep with your eyes wide open or risk losing your table by morning. The thrill of stealing a table or matress and being successful was priceless. I went on a few nights raids myself.

The stealing was so bad that Room Leaders were asked to study in their rooms at night whilst the rest of the students studied in their classrooms.

We eventually organised a strike on the day Jawara was going to be in town campaigning for re-election. It was made known to us through some secret contacts that Waa, as Commissioner, will pacify the police to not intervene but we also agreed to be civil.

We both fulfilled our promises as gentlemen. Now I understand why despite all the noise we created as early as 5am, walked a distance of 3 to four kilometres from Armitage to Sankulay Kunda, and passing right by the Police station, on a day the President was due in town and not a single officer made any attempt to stop us. We knew that our comrade had played his part of the deal.

We met Jawara, having blocked his way by ordering students to liedown on the road because we knew the guards would not run us over. I was in the thick of events and Sana Sabally was the artist who made the drawings on the placards having spent the whole night in the school dining hall drawing up strategies and boards with appropriate words. I remember a drawing by Sana depicting a student eating food and vomiting because of "bad food". Bamba Mass was not to be outworked. If I recall he was the one who threw that scary stone in the direction of a teacher at night who was trying to undermine our efforts whilst we were drawing up our plans at night inside dining hall. The teacher ran and Bamba's scare tactics worked. He meant no harm

Eventually, all our demands were met. We had new tables and chairs for all students and some; enough plates and spoons, teacups and the school store stocked up. We even had a new Principal because the ringleaders were marked for dismissal by the Principal and they had to protect their interests. It a non negotiable item in demands we had at the Ministry of Education.

Waa was a master negotiator but also sensitive to the plight of the poor. I still believe he had a hand in the successes of our strike. Had he deployed the forces, our problems would have been drowned by the political sycophants in Jawara's entourage. Waa fed us but supported our cause despite his relationship with President Jawara who was his uncle.

Thank you Waa for your selfless service to your country and for defending the weak and underprivileged. As his fight for justice in the political arena, I will leave that to the politicians to educate us about a man who has no fear to stand out even if it meant attracting danger to himself. I don't want to preach to the choir because we saw him in action and the right abuses he endured so we can enjoy the freedoms we so carelessly take for granted.


May your soul rest in JANNAH. Amen

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