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This biography of a living person does not cite any references or sources. Please help by adding reliable sources. Contentious material about living people that is unsourced or poorly sourced must be removed immediately. (July 2007) Find sources: (Dawda Jawara – news, books, scholar)
Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara, GCMG (born May 16, 1924) was the first leader of The Gambia, serving first as Prime Minister from 1962 to 1970 and then as President from 1970 to 1994.
Initially trained as a veterinary surgeon at the Glasgow veterinary school (for a while but then moved to complete his training at Liverpool University), he served as prime minister from 1962 until 1970. After the country abolished the monarchy and became a republic through a referendum he became president on April 24, 1970. The Gambia under Jawara was notably democratic in comparison with most of post-independence Africa.
In July 1981 while attending the wedding of Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer, he was nearly overthrown in a bloody coup d'etat attempt by Kukoi Samba Sanyang that was eventually suppressed only with the aid of Senegalese troops. On July 22, 1994, a second coup attempt led by Lieutenant Yahya Jammeh was successful, and Jawara went into exile until 2002. He returned to The Gambia as an elder statesman, but cannot take part in politics for the rest of his life. He went to Nigeria in 2007 after being selected to head up a West African team (ECOWAS) to assess Nigeria's preparedness for its April 2007 presidential election.
He currently lives in the town of Jawara.