SM Dibba passes away
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
Sheriff Mustapha Dibba, a veteran Gambian politician who served as the country's National Assembly speaker from 2002 to 2006, gave his last breathe on Monday morning at the Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital (RVTH), Banjul.
SM Dibba, 71, reportedly died of a heart-attack, after he was hospitalised last week Friday. His body was laid to rest at the Old Jeshwang Cemetery in the Kanifing Municipality. He is survived by a wife and 14 children.
The late Sheriff Dibba attended Armitage High School from 1946-1947. He later moved to Banjul, where he attended the Boys High School. He graduated from there in 1955 at a very young age and had been a distinguish and hard working scholar.
Following his high school graduation, Sheriff Dibba worked at the United Africa Company (UAC) during the colonial era as a clerk and was promoted to the rank of stores clerk.In 1958, he resigned voluntarily to take up politics as a full-time career.
SM Dibba was the leader of the National Convention Party (NCP). Mr Dibba was The Gambia's first vice-president in the first republic and resigned from that position in 1975 and later formed the NCP. Following elections in 1977, the NCP became the main opposition party in The Gambia.
He was incarcerated in 1981 for alleged involvement in the foiled coup attempt led by Kukoi Samba Sanyang, but was freed after 11 months in detention.
A presidential election was held on 4 May 1982, months after a constitutional amendment instituting direct election of the country's head of state. Dibba was defeated by ex-President Sir Dawda Jawara. He ran again as the NCP presidential candidate in 1987 and 1992, coming second to President Jawara both times.
Following the change of government in 1994, the NCP and other political parties were banned. The ban on the NCP was lifted in mid-2001 and SM Dibba contested the election held on 18 October of that year. He was defeated by incumbent President Jammeh and placed fourth out of five candidates, winning 3.8% of the vote.
SM Dibba then gave his support to President Jammeh and his party, the APRC, and after the legislative elections of January 2002, he was elected the Speaker of the National Assembly at the first meeting of the new legislature on 3 February.
In April 2006, Dibba was arrested and removed as the speaker and nominated member of the National Assembly.
The late SM Dibba and the NCP nevertheless backed President Jammeh in the September 2006 presidential election.
Author: by Ebrima Jaw Manneh & Musa Ndow