Gambia: Work Starts At D25 Million President Jawara Mausoleum

Construction of the mausoleum of Gambia's first president, Alhaji Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara, has finally begun in earnest in the premises of National Assembly where he was buried in August 2019.

The construction of the mausoleum, which is handled by the Ministry of Transport, Works and Infrastructure is meant to honour the late Gambian president, while allowing people, visitors and tourists to visit and pay respect to the late president and learn about the life he lived taking into consideration the significant items from his past.

Former President Jawara's mausoleum is going to be a place of attraction for everyone both national and international tourists who can visit to remember or mourn, reflect on the life of the late president in a peaceful environment, mediate and allow people to interact with some of his personal possessions among other things.

Following the death of the late President Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara, "the National Assembly expressed desire to have a memorial for his contributions to the country and remember him about what he stood for in terms of peace and stability," Mr. Matarr Ceesay, director of technical services, Ministry of Transport, Works and Infrastructure stated.

He added that the mausoleum known as "DK Memorial Centre is very important to the nation and it is in honour of the country's first president."

Mr. Ceesay says this is a big project for the country as the National Assembly wants something similar to what does exists in western countries like U.S., where former presidents are honoured with libraries or memorials that symbolise what they represented when they were alive.

Giving details of the DK Memorial Centre, he said there were about three or four concepts submitted and reviewed by the Ministry of Transport, Works and Infrastructure. It was done in collaboration with the representatives of the immediate family of late President Jawara and National Centre for Arts and Culture - would be custodian of the memorial complex.

Mr. Ceesay further disclosed that the mausoleum would cost D25 million and will occupy 324sqms with some facilities including archive, store, water pools/fountain, cafeteria, and library and stalls/gift shops around it among other modern facilities.

On the design, "the building is a suspended one which basically sits on top of his burial ground. In designing it, importantly, the cultural and religious aspects, to avoid having any issue on it, were incorporated in the design. So visitors to the place can look down and pay their respect without any interference with the burial ground," Mr. Ceesay clarified.

He indicated that the construction will be completed in 13 months and "we are very much looking forward for the progress of the project because the Ministry as from day one, has taken it as a legacy project and we are happy and glad that we are entrusted with it."

Hassoum Ceesay, director general of National Centre for Arts and Culture, said late President Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara really deserves the mausoleum and visitors' centre as it will serve as museum/library and place of attraction "where generation and future generations can come and pay homage to his remains and also see some of his artifacts materials which he had worked with such as his books, clothes, papers among others."

"It is for people to learn about what he represented when he was alive in terms of stability, peace, rule of law and respect for human rights-the virtue which he stood for. Therefore is going to be more than a resting place but a place of inspiration, education and knowledge for the generations of Gambians and non-Gambians today, tomorrow and those to visit The Gambia in future."

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