Abdoulai G. Dibba
Kalo Yaffa, the chairman of Kuntaur Fulla Kunda VDC in CRR has called on authorities to promptly intervene in the long drawn dispute between the villagers and the village head, to prevent violence.
In an interview with Foroyaa Newspaper, Mr. Yaffa revealed that the actions and conduct of alkalo Sulayman Jawo, the village head, proved to be harmful to the villagers. He says the sooner Mr. Jawo is removed from the position of village head, the better for the people who no longer recognize him as their leader. “I think one person should not endanger the peace and stability of the whole village,” Mr. Yaffa argued. According to the VDC Chairman, Mr. Jawo continues to spark dispute among the people in Kuntaur Fulla Kunda since becoming head of the village some two years ago.
He recalled that Mr. Jawo’s most recent dispute with villagers happened last month. According to him, Jawo took another provocative action which could have resulted in violence if not for the patience of the villagers; that he was said to have denied villagers the fertilizer given by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), for onward distribution to the farming community.
“FAO gave bags of fertilizer to poor farmers of the village who could not afford to buy fertilizer. The distribution was done at the Kuntaur Agric Station whose officials attempted to deliver the fertilizer to the villagers including the VDC,” the chairman narrated; that as members, the VDC received the gift from agric officials and put them in the village store; that Mr. Jawo confronted them insisting that the fertilizer should not be delivered without his authorization. “He told the officials to return the fertilizer to the agric station so that he would later collect the gift.” According to Mr. Yaffa, members of the VDC argued that the fertilizer should not be collected by Sulayman Jawo as it would not reach the intended poor farmers because he was alleged to have misused similar gifts in the past.
Meanwhile he said that Jawo as the village head, was unhappy that the gift was delivered to the VDC and went ahead to complain to the head of the agric station as well as the police in Kuntaur Wharf Town. The police, having heard his complain and the response of the VDC, said they could not take any step in the matter. As a result of the dispute over the gift, the head of Kuntaur Agric Station later ordered for the fertilizer to be returned. According to Yaffa, as things stand, the poor farmers in the village have been denied the fertilizer due to the actions of the village head, Sulayman Jawo.
Yaffa also said Jawo sold many communal lands since becoming the village head, much to the disapproval of the people. He was alleged to have abused the resources of the village which angered the people who did not recognize Jawo’s leadership.
When contacted on the issue on Saturday 19 August 2017, Alkalo Sulayman Jawo said an investigation panel has been set up and he can only comment at the end of their work.