This paper has recommended for the government to concentrate on operationalising the Land Commission in order to look into land disputes so as to address its challenges. The history is clear. During the war in Guinea Bissau in the seventies many people left the war zones and settled in The Gambia.
In order to rear pigs such people requested for land in the thick forest. They were granted the right to settle on such land. They clear the bushes, established their homes, farmed the land and reared small ruminants, earned income, educated their children and established normal homes in The Gambia.
Population has increased. The forests have disappeared and those villages within the thick forests are now peri-urban villages. The lands on which they were established are now diamond mines for land speculators. Those who never aspired to call it theirs are now being tempted to call such lands their ancestral properties. Courts are being resorted to, to argue on such grounds and the possibilities of evicting communities from their lands is at sight. Conflict is smouldering within the corridors of vested interest.
A Land Commission could have created a win-win situation if given total original jurisdiction to handle such complicated land disputes involving communities so that at the end of the day they could even recommend for government to compensate certain claimants to prevent displacement of populations.
We hope the government will act swiftly. A transitional administration was expected to make the life of all a little bit better. If others reap the worst they would have no love for your transitional administration. Hence the transitional administration should find ways and means of endearing itself to all sectors of the population by being their protector.