(JollofNews) Demba Ali Jawo is the Gambia’s Minister of Information, Communication and Technology. He previously worked as editor for a number of media outlets including the Dakar-based African Press Agency, The Independent and Daily Observer newspapers.
In this edition of On The Spot, Mr Jawo talks about his earliest memory and childhood days in Choya Village, Central River Region, his greatest fear and most embarrassing moment.
Who is Mr. Demba Jawo?
A son of a gainako (herdsman) from the village of Choya in the Central River Region of the Gambia who always endeavoured to contribute his quota in helping to bring peace and happiness to humanity.
When were you happiest?
Whenever I make someone else happy.
What is your greatest fear?
That an innocent person would be bullied and/or subjected to unfair treatment.
What is your earliest memory?
One childhood memory that still lingers in my head was an encounter (if you can call it that) with a crocodile when I was about five years old and for the very first time accompanying my senior brothers to tender the herd of cattle near the Sonfanyama Bolong, about four kilometers from the village. While watching the cows grazing near the river, I saw a crocodile on the river bank taking a nap in the sun, with its long mouth wide open, and without a second thought, I ran like Usain Bolt to go back to the village. That is one of my first indelible childhood memories.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
Being slow in taking decisions.
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
The tendency to bully the innocent.
What was your most embarrassing moment?
Once I had a visitor from a neighbouring country and while proudly showing him around, I was confronted by an immigration officer, in the full view of many people, aggressively demanding my ‘residential permit’ (assuming that I was not a Gambian) and even threatening to arrest me if I did not produce it, while everyone else, including my guest, were watching in amazement. That was quite an embarrassing moment.
What is the most expensive thing you’ve bought?
A second-hand Mercedes Benz I bought for my wife.
What is your most treasured possession?
A silver bangle given to me by my late mom.
What would your superpower be?
I don’t believe in the superpower concept
What is your favourite smell?
The smell that comes with the first rains.
If you could bring something extinct back to life, what would you choose?
I love the dinosaurs.
What is the worst thing anyone’s said to you?
That I am a racist/tribalist.
Have you ever said “I love you” and not meant it?
Which living person do you most despise, and why?
The one who disrespects people simply because of their colour, gender or social standing.
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
The one who would use the occasion to preach peace and reconciliation.
If you could go back in time, where would you go?
To the serenity of village life, away from the ‘Madding Crowd’.
Which word do you most overuse?
What has been your biggest disappointment?
That there is still injustice and hatred in the world.
How do you relax?
By dozing off after a hard day’s work.
What is the closest you’ve come to death?
While learning to swim as a young boy, I almost drowned and had to be rescued from the river.
What single thing would improve the quality of your life?
Seeing justice done to all manner of people.
What is your greatest achievement?
The little role I may have played in helping to end tyranny in the Gambia.
What keeps you awake at night?
Thinking that someone somewhere is suffering injustice.
How would you like to be remembered?
As someone who loved and respected everyone else.
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
That love and respect are reciprocal.
Is it better to give or receive?
I prefer giving more and receiving less.
Which living person do you most admire?
While I do not have any special preference, but I admire all those who dedicate their lives to helping bring peace and justice to humanity.