By Momodou Jawo
Inhabitants of Mankamang Kunda, the home village of President Adama Barrow, have allegedly asked the constituency chairman of the opposition Gambia Democratic Congress (GDC) in Jimara District to stop holding political gatherings and meetings in the village.
Contacted for clarification on the matter, the GDC chairman, Sara Jawo, said he was “surprised” when a group of the villagers visited him and informed him about the decision. “It was one Alhaji Batch Baldeh who summoned a village meeting and suggested to the villagers that they should not allow the GDC to hold gatherings in my compound. He told the villagers that if the GDC persists in going ahead with its gatherings in the village, then they should ask for the removal of the village alkalo.
“I went to the village alkali and reported the matter to him. I told him that before Adama Barrow became president, I already had a compound in Mankamang Kunda and therefore the villagers had no right to ask me to leave,” he said.
He accused Mr Baldeh of trying to incite the villagers. “Baldeh told the youths of the village that if our vehicles drive by, they should stone us. I told the district chief Kanimang Sanneh about the meeting that the villagers held. The chief told me that Mankamang Kunda before and now are quite different and therefore I should either join them or stop holding GDC gatherings in the village,” he claimed.
Contacted, the National Assembly Member for Jimara District, Alhagie Sowe, described the incident as unacceptable. “I just want to make it emphatically clear that whoever is behind this [harassment] must stop, because there is no law that says that a political party should not hold a meeting or gathering in the president’s home village,” he stated.
Sowe warned people behind the instigation “to desist from it with a view to not jeopardis the peace and stability of the district. We will hold meetings and gatherings in the village whenever the need arises. I have informed the regional governor, the police commissioner and the district chief about the development. The villagers have no right to say GDC will not hold a gathering in the village,” he said.
When contacted, Chief Kanimang Sanneh said he received a complaint from the GDC executive members in the district. He said he was going to find out from the other party. The chief added that he only cautioned the GDC district executive members that Mankamang Kunda has changed and that he gave the UDP supporters a similar advice with regard to their activities in the home village of Mamma Kandeh.
Effort to reach the regional URR governor Fatou Jammeh-Touray and Mr Baldeh for comments proved futile.