(JollofNews) – An opposition leader in the Gambia has paid tribute to the country’s former Local Government and Land minister, Landing Jallow Sonko, who died on Monday in neighbouring Senegal.
Mr Sonko who was a cabinet minister and Member of Parliament during the first Republic, succumbed to injuries he sustained in a hit and run accident in Pipe Line area.
Paying tribute to the late politician, Mai Ahmed Fatty, leader of the opposition Gambia Moral Congress party (GMC), described him as a very good man who was modest, approachable, accessible, helpful and useful during his “big man” days.
In a post on his Facebook page, Mr Fatty wrote: “He led by example. A visit to his office at Local Government Ministry with my dad in my teen years was a lesson in virtue. As we were about to depart from his office, he looked at me and said to my dad in Mandinka, Koto, these young men must be taught on how to seek “barrko”. He tilted himself towards the right with a slight bend and pulled out some Dalasi notes, rolled tightly in his right hand, stretching it towards my Dad. Then he looked straight into my eyes saying in Mandinka, son, ” barrko ka san-neh), meaning to be blessed, you must do the things that would grant you blessing.
When we met again at Kiang Dumbutu in the late 1980s upon the invitation of former Vice President at the time, Bakary Bunja Darbo, he proposed me as the rapporteur of the PPP constituency congress held there, in a team that included Suwareh Darbo, former PS of PMO Mr. M.L Samateh and former UDP NAM Minority Leader, Hon. Sanneh. In that capacity, I had the honour of publicly presenting the deliberations and resolutions of the congress at the closing ceremony, amid great political fanfare, interspersed with Jaliba Kuyateh, kankurang dances and ‘ Sewruba ‘.
When GMC was formed and I was elected Secretary General at a time I was out of the country in Europe nursing grave injuries sustained at a vehicular accident, I reached out to him for counsel. His advice was determinant.
He was a man of wisdom and very concerned about our country’s future. He was a veritable voice of reason, unity and sanity during the tough inter-party consultations preceding the 2011 presidential elections. My lengthy phone conversations with him on numerous national matters taught me a great deal about the hows of domestic politics. When I pressured him for a major come-back, he was frank and direct: “son, my children have successfully prevailed over me to retire from politics. I gave my youth and the better part of my life to the country. It is now opportune for me to give the rest of my life to my family.” He lived with dignity and died in dignity. May Allah grant him Jannatul-Firdaws.”
Picture Credit: The Point Newspaper