By: Kebba AF Touray
The elders of Kiang Nema District LRR are complaining about what they refer to as interference in their traditional way of appointing their Alkalo.
According to them, imposing an appointee on them was not what they expected from new Gambia and that this has raised the question as to whether the county is heading towards dictatorship. They would therefore want to know the truth from the top since those purportedly imposing their will on them are clamming to have such orders from above.
Kemesseng Jawara, the one who has been selected as acting Alkalo by the village elders narrated that their tradition is that when an Alkalo dies, the village unanimously appoints someone to be the interim Alkalo until the final appointment is done. He said when their Alkalo died the same trend started and recently, the chief of Kiang Central, Demba Sanyang told them to appoint their village head.
“We told him to wait until the 20th of March 2018 which he initially agreed. When he came for the second time he said that period is long and ordered us to appoint an Alkalo on that very day,” he said.
He said that all the villagers, except one compound called Sambou Kunda, agreed to appoint Kemesseng Fadera and sent kolanuts and the appointment letter to him and the Governor. He further said few days after his appointment, the Chief, Abdou Darboe and a police officer at Mansa Konko came and the Chief told them that they have appointed one Kebba Fatty as their Alkalo who they said has been appointed by the government.
“This is threatening the peace of our village and those imposing their will on us are clamming to have such orders from the above,” he noted.
“This is undemocratic and we have been fighting for the past 22 years to relegate it to history, but this signals that dictatorship still exists, because the chief has imposed his will on us an”, he said.
Omar Fadera and Fabakary Fadera, two aspirants disclosed that they have accepted the appointment of Kemesseng Fadera in good faith as his appointment is done by the vast majority of the villagers. This they disclosed is a democratic principle, which is in line with their tradition and that Kemesseng Fadera is the eldest in the traditional line of inheritance of the position of Alkalo.
The elders are calling on the government and the Ministry of Lands and Regional Government to look into the matter and ensure that the choice of the majority stands.
Almamo Fadera from Sambou Kunda argued that history shows that the alkaloship has been in Nema for the past seventy years and should remain there. He explained in some details how Nema migrated from the Casamance region of Senegal during the Second World War, to The Gambia and their Grand Grandfather, Afang Lang Jukunding Fadera, became both the Alkalo and Imam. He further explained how Kebba Lang Fadera was removed from his post as Alkalo, without the consent of the people of Nema.
According to him, the current interim Alkalo Kemesseng Jawara, who has been in the position for two years, mobilised some people in the village claiming that both the Alkalo and Imamship should not be in one compound.
According to the village elders discussions on the matter are to take place between the ministry for regional government and the village elders.