The Gambia’s university is conferring an honorary doctorate on the West African nation’s founding father, Dawda Kairaba Jawara, for his reputable stands on defending human rights during his 30-year reign.
Dawda Jawara has ruled the Gambia as prime minister from 1965 to 1970 and as president from 1970 to 1994 when he was toppled by former president Yahya Jammeh.
Jawara has made a name as one of the few African leaders to have promoted human rights on the continent at a time when most countries are experiencing dictatorship.
The university will also conferred an honorary doctorate on President Adama Barrow for his efforts in protecting human rights in the first year of his rule since taking power on December 1, 2016.
Critics said it is too early for the Barrow administration to be honored with such an achievement but the university’s relations officer, Nfally Fadera, said that the award was not politically motivated.
“I want to say that the university senate and governing council was under no duress or any influence, and has no ulterior motives whatsoever, to come to the decision,” Fadera said.
The administration of President Adama Barrow has received kudos from human rights group, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch for opening up the democratic space in the country, restoring rule of law and ensuring freedoms, which were restrained by his predecessor.