Five things about the late Alieu K.  Jammeh- The People’s Ambassador

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By Famara Fofana

  1. Born leader

The late Alieu K. Jammeh did not only serve as student leader in Armitage High School, but also Chair of the international students’ body during his undergraduate studies in the Islamic University of Uganda.  As a mark of their faith in him, the authorities called upon him to assume the Armitage student leadership when chaos ensued during the campaign.  Meanwhile, in Uganda where he studied Public Administration, Alieu became the go-to guy for the foreign students when the local student population felt a guild president was a step too far for an outsider like him. Back in Armitage, Alieu K. Jammeh proved to be a vital cog under David Hafner’s scout band where he etched his name as a master flutist. His closest mate at Armitage and later Gambia High School was Sillah Conateh and the pair would remain inseparable confidants until Alieu breathed his last.

Between 2021 and 2022, Alieu K. Jammeh became the recipient of two prestigious international awards in recognition of his sterling leadership qualities and the inroads he registered in the public sector. At the 11th edition of the African Achievers Awards held on December 10 2021 at the Kensington Palace in London, he was conferred Excellence in Public Office gong.

  1. Regality in the blood, but he earned his place in the pantheon of Gambia’s greats.

As fate would have it, Alieu K. Jammeh’s father (Kebba Jammeh) died on the day he finished his dissertation’s first draft during his first master’s degree in Malaysia.  And even after his second master’s at York University in the UK, getting a job upon his country to The Gambia in 2001 became a tough ride for the deceased diplomat. That is the more reason GT Bank became his employer after stumbling on a job advert in the newspaper stands.  But with an unyielding sense of purpose and discipline, it was only going to be a matter of time before the penny drops for a formidable grandson of the late Mama Tamba Jammeh.

  1. Mentored by a former U.S President

Former U.S president Jimmy Carter was one of the people that shaped Alieu K. Jammeh’s worldview. His internship at the Carter Foundation, specifically in their Conflict Resolution Department, came at a time when Alieu had been building interest in issues around conflict prevention, peace building, and peacekeeping. In fact, one of his dissertations looked at the conflict in Liberia. It interrogated the formation of Liberia as a state between 1884 and 1887 and its disintegration due to a harrowing civil war.  The late Alieu K. Jammeh’s interactions with Carter himself would have a lasting effect on his understanding of global issues.  At the Carter Centre, the director Alieu worked with was very supportive in facilitating his conflict studies programme in the UK after realizing firsthand his interest and potential.

  1. Public Service

It all began in September 2004 when Alieu picked up a job as an administrative officer under the Permanent Secretary, Personnel Management Office (PMO). He also got posted to the Ministry of Tourism and Culture as a senior assistant secretary. There, he served for about two years from 2005 to 2007. In 2007, Alieu K. Jammeh was transferred with promotion to the Ministry of Local Government and Lands at the Directorate of Local Governance as a Principal Decentralisation Officer in charge of strategy and planning. He moved to the Ministry of Youth and Sports as Principal Assistant Secretary in 2008. After six months at Youth and Sports as Principal Assistant Secretary, he joined the Gambia chapter of West African Network for Peace Building (WANEP) on a year-long secondment from the civil service. Alieu would serve as Deputy Permanent Secretary, Permanent Secretary at the Youth and Sports Ministry, Minister, Minister, Overseer of the UTG Quality Assurance Department, and until his death Ambassador. A second strategic plan for the Youth and Sports Ministry was midwifed during his time at the helm. Remarkably, Alieu k. Jammeh fronted the preparation of a 2010 discussion paper titled: THINKING AHEAD: – REINVENTING THE MINISTRY OF YOUTH AND SPORTS.

 

  1. Darling of the youth

 

The late Alieu K. Jammeh was in a league of his own when it came to supporting people -whether it was sports journalists – or your average Gambian youth. He was there for all.  Alieu was your everyday person who carried no airs and graces about him. He was your archetypal ‘kotokay’ who availed every young person a listening ear and a platform excel. Despite his humility, you cannot help but appreciate how he carried himself. He was humble, yet firm, for he never gave anyone a bended knee.  He was no authoritarian but there was air of authority about him. In his company, we were felt comfortable just as we are learning from his death also.

Ndeysan!  “Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player.”  There goes the Shakespearean line uttered by Macbeth upon hearing of Lady Macbeth’s death. At best, it sums up the transitory nature of this world. May Allah grant our brother Jannah, Ameen.

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