By Yankuba Jallow
Sidia S. Jatta, the National Assembly Member for Wuli West, has called on the Government of the Gambia to address the issue of land disputes in the country.
Jatta said this during the National Assembly Adjournment Debate held on Thursday December 27th 2018.
Sidia told Deputies that the country is faced with land disputes. He said this has brought about hatred among people and the Government is doing nothing about it. The Wuli West Deputy said the issue is becoming serious to the extent that joining two communities for social services, is becoming difficult; that Government cannot provide each and every village with a borehole, and found it useful to join communities to share a borehole. He said the issue is now proving difficult because of land disputes.
Sidia said there is need to amend Section 191 of the Constitution.
Sidia also said there cannot be meaningful development, in the absence of the usage of our local languages for communication. “We continue to deceive our people that we are representing them. If things continue as they are in this National Assembly, there will be a revolt. I will lead it and we will succeed. We will drive everyone out and people will become free, because that is what they have fought for. They want to be free and we still want to continue deceiving them in this National Assembly speaking in a language that is foreign,” he said.
He called on the Minister of Information and Communication to open up to people, so that they can use the GRTS to teach people in their own languages, and that he is ready to take up that responsibility. “Allocate time, every week 3 hours and we will use it to educate people in their own languages, and then we will move forward with development. If we do not do that, we will move nowhere with development,” he said. Sidia told Deputies that it is the people who matter, when it comes to development and that representatives, make decisions for the people.
“You make a decision and they do not know what you decided for them. Yet we want them to be part of the development process. Is this possible? They must be part and parcel of development. They must conceive development and you cannot do that when you do not take this strange language away,” Jatta said. Jatta said he has colleagues who can do and will be committed to teaching people in their native languages.
“That is what we meant by freedom. Speak your language. We are here promoting English,” he said.
He said the people they are representing need to know what they are saying in the National Assembly. He said the majority of the masses in the country cannot understand English and they are not included in the events at the National Assembly.
Sidia said the country is not going to move without the use of ‘our’ local languages in the country; that the recent enactment of the Bill on Basic and Secondary Education has failed to contain the fundamental things. He pointed out that it is now established that Gambian languages should now be taught in Schools but the Bill has failed to officialise the use of our local languages in these Schools. He added that the writing system to use these languages has been established since 1979, but has never been officialised.
“There should be an Act of the National Assembly that should officialise an autograph for our languages,” he said.