The Government of The Gambia has strongly assured the Manjajo language speaking group that they are co-equal and very significant players in Gambian society and should therefore, never consider themselves as minorities or marginalized people.
According to a press release issued by the Government Spokesperson, this assurance was made at a meeting held at the Quadrangle addressed by the Minister of Lands, Regional Government and Religious Affairs, Mr Musa Drammeh and Minister of Fisheries, Mr Furmus Gomez.
The Government Spokesperson described the meeting as highly emotional yet very frank, amicable and productive, lasting almost two hours. He said that Minister Drammeh told the crowded hall at the Quadrangle reflecting a cross-section of Alkalolu and representatives within the West Coast Region, that Government has been closely monitoring the unfortunate events among neighbours they have lived with peacefully for decades and that his ministry is determined to solve all these disputes amicably.
He quoted the Minister as saying, “You are bonafide Gambians and have rights like all citizens and you should never allow anybody to diminish your importance nor use you or make you break the laws of The Gambia.”
According to the release, on the emotional graveyard issue at Tananeh village, Kombo South and all its sensitivities, Hon Drammeh assured the gathering that his ministry has since struck a deal with one Mr. Seedy Barrow by compensating him with a piece of land at the Brusubi Layout. This according to Mr Drammeh, was meant to preserve the sanctity and respect befitting the dead and to consolidate on the gains made among neighbours lasting decades.
“I expect no further problems with Mr Barrow and that should bring closure to that problem” the minister remarked.
Regarding the ongoing problems in Deya village and other settlements in the same district, Minister Drammeh assured the gathering that he has been in close consultations with the Chiefs, the Governor of West Coast and the Ministry of Justice as well as the office of the Chief Justice to ensure that this issue is resolved peacefully using our traditional mechanism and the law where necessary.
In his remarks, the Minister of Fisheries and Water Resources, Hon. James Furmus Gomez, echoed similar sentiments and reaffirmed Government’s position in treating all citizens as equals.
In his contribution, the veteran broadcaster and Manager of West Coast Radio, Mr. Peter Gomez, thanked Ministers Drammeh and Gomez for their timely intervention and the seriousness and significance they attach to a very emotional matter confronting those communities. Mr Gomez also admonished them to continue to nurture their spirit of tolerance and hard work that they are known for.
The meeting was attended by the Permanent Secretaries at Lands Messrs: Buba Sanyang and Saikou Sanyang as well as the Executive Secretary of GAFNA, Mr Pa Yusufa J. Gomez.
The meeting has taken place in the wake of communal tensions between communities in the Kombos and families claiming lands that these communities have been occupying for decades.