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City of Banjul
Monday, July 22, 2024
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Gov’t urged to avoid land grabbing without compensation

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By Modou Lamin Faye

De-escalating situations should be government’s number one priority. It is important to strategise and create dialogue to find a common ground when dealing with the public especially in situations where the government wants the public’s collaboration regarding their properties that they have been paying taxes on for many years.

Based on our security analysis and risk assessment on the recent boiling situation where the Barrow administration is now sending the paramilitary/police to forcefully demolish people’s fences and taking part of their lands legally and rightfully own for the ongoing road extension projects without proper compensation.

This could in the long run trigger violent demonstrations and destabilise the country. We need Barrow’s administration to understand that God gave every human being license to be who they want to be and we have seen how leaders like former President Jammeh ended up when he abused his license or how president Macky Sall pretty much lost everything including his legacy, and respect that he worked so hard to get for a simple fact that he leads his country with his ego, pride, and always uses the military and police as first resort to respond to people’s demand.

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The security, riot gear, vehicles, ammunitions, and weapons that his (Sall) administration thought would solve the problem or stop the public from destabilising the country, burning down government properties (transportation buses, armoured vehicles, buildings, and lives of security officers), and destroying businesses that innocent people worked so hard for did no good but escalated the situation. This is why it is essential to know and understand how to effectively work with the people that you serve or lead as it is your job to not only legally maintain law and order but to also hold yourself and others accountable for their actions. As a sitting president, you should always keep in mind that there are always going to be people, organisations, or corporations that would use your vulnerability and weaknesses to pay or sponsor your political opponents to undermine, discredit, destabilise your administration, and turn the public against you, which is currently happening in The Gambia, Senegal, Sudan, and the list goes on. Therefore, your administration should put countermeasures in place to effectively tackle those challenges which includes but not limited to actively listening to the issues and concerns that the people you lead or serve have, make connection with their interests, respect their territories and opinions, avoid over-reacting, and set boundaries and use the law/constitution as a guideline to come up with options to create a “win-win” situation and move past the problem.

The public is already having difficulties keeping thieves away from entering their homes and for the government to not consider the fact that most of these homeowners are facing financial difficulties and do not have the money to rebuild their fences right away. The government is not only violating their constitutional rights but also jeopardising their security and safety, being inconsiderate and disrespectful to the homeowners. I am not sure who the advisers of Barrow’s administration are, but they clearly are not looking out for Barrow’s legacy/interest and most importantly the country’s best interest or the interest of National Security.

It is Barrow’s responsibility to know right from wrong, or when he’s being set up to fail, and make sure that people around him are not advising him to fulfil their personal agendas. A great adviser does not advise people based on their personal feelings or beliefs, but facts and they must look at all angles of possible outcomes (what if situations) and have a contingency plan. I urge president Barrow and his administration to put a hold on the demolition of fences, regroup, and find a better approach before it gets out of hand and lead us to what happened in Senegal where citizens of the country took matters in their own hands.

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