‘‘According to reports, a young villager who belongs to the Christian faith, died and was to be buried in the Christian cemetery; that some people refuse family members of the deceased to bury their loved one at the cemetery because the land where the Christian cemetery is located is said to belong to one Seedy Barrow of Gunjur village; that Seedy deliberately decided to seize the whole land area which included the grave yard’’. (Foroyaa, June 7,2018).
According to the Christian community in Teneneh, they were burying their deaths in the said plot of land for almost 50 years. Therefore, any outsider claiming ownership of the 50 years Land will violate the 1997 Land Acts of the Republic of The Gambia which stated that no single Gambian should claim ownership of land which he never built or used as Agriculture purposes for the past 12 years.
It is very sad to see the minority being suppressed and subjected to all kind of inhumane and immorality pain in The Gambia that belongs to all religions, tribe, race and gender. The above mentioned have been aggravated by politics. It is sad to say that but most politicians either publicly or privately try to encourage tribal sentiments for their own self-centred interests.
Furthermore, many a tribalist traces the perceived superiority of their tribe to ethnic lineage. They will recount how their forebears defeated the other tribes in a war or a series of wars, or sometimes how their forebears enslaved the other tribes. Such people take pride in their history and no amount of persuasion can make them to see today’s reality. They believe that since their ancestors were “better” than the other tribes, so also are they now which is a major obstacle of land dispute in today’s Gambia.
By this we mean that tribes which are endowed with abundant resources and opportunities often tend to disrespect people from other tribes especially the minority who come to seek work/stay on their land. Similarly, tribes which have the seat of power tend to think that they are better than others and sometimes look down on them.
Growing as a child staying and attending the same school, the same football club with the manjago’s, I came to realize that they are the most hardworking and trustworthy people ever to live in The Gambia. Armed robbery, theft and rape is the order of the day in the new Gambia, but hardly have you seen a Manjago part of such an ungodly act. The Manjago’s are always content to what they have and treat all people within the state of nature with respect and dignity.
Portraying the Manjago’s as strangers in The Gambia is the highest insult and hypocrisy of the 21st Century. Until and unless we change our attitudes as per the teaching of Islam of ‘sharing and caring’ The Gambia will never be at peace.
The last time I checked Land conflicts can be persistent, and this suggests caution in talking about conflict “resolution.” Particular disputes over specific lands, which may be expressions of a larger conflict, can be resolved, and this can ease tensions. While local and traditional institutions like village Alikalos, councilors, religious and traditional leaders, and other stakeholders can often resolve local land conflicts.
I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality. I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word. (Martin Luther King, Jr.)
A Luta Continua
Saidina Alieu Jarjou