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Saturday, January 23, 2021

‘Barrow’s government acts like Jammeh’s’

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By Omar Bah

Lamin DF Manneh, a Brufut native resident in the UK has accused the Barrow administration of ambulating people’s properties like former president Yahya Jammeh used to do.

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“Given the ‘professional’ background of the current head of state, it is not a surprise land thievery is now on steroids. A cadre of administrators is in great haste to accumulate as much wealth as possible, in as short a period as possible. This is resulting in a feast on Kombo lands – as they embark on ever-more creative ways to future-proof their ill-gotten wealth,” Manneh said in write-up shared with The Standard.
Manneh is a leading figure in the fight to recover several hectares of land allegedly secured by Taf Africa Global without due process in Brufut community ahead of the 2006 AU Summit in Banjul.

“…[T]he current administration displays unfettered materialism, lacks amoral compass, or a sense of care, duty, and responsibility is no longer in doubt. In effect, it is a recycle of the decaying remnants of Jammeh era personalities. Except for half-hearted attempts at cosmetic change, the core has remained intact. No surprises then that there is no difference in either essence or substance between the 2ndand 3rdRepublics [sic]. Thus, like its predecessor, this administration carefully uses a mendacious and cynical cost-benefit analysis on all its dealings with Gambians. This includes which communities to enrage with negligible political cost,” he alleged.

He said the ever-burgeoning rise in “estate developers”, the
mushrooming of “estates”, and their enablement through “crooked administrators and misguided locals”, has created a convergence of necessities for an all-out assault on custodial lands.

“Central in these calculations, is the past form of Kombonkas’ own reluctance to fight back. With Kombonkas, the threshold for accepting the intolerable, is unmatched. It is as if they have become attuned to injustice. That perception, though, does not tell the whole story. The missing ingredients continue to be the deafening silence and inaction of Kombo’s intellectuals. They have failed the masses,” he noted.
He said the selective nature by which organs of the state demolished structures at Salagi, served as a stark reminder of the hallmarked culture of maladministration in Gambian polity.

“More worrisome, the event evinced the systemic and entrenched nature of the disdain towards Kombo’s customary landowners. Although there is normalcy and routine to The Gambia’s mis-governance, the one true outlier is the state-sanctioned robbery of Kombo lands under the guises of land legislation. A cursory glance at these legislations unearths a staggering and wide-ranging systematic injustice and abuse of state powers,” he stressed.

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