By Omar Bah
The Imam Ratib of Banjul, Alhaji Cherno Alieu Mass Kah has joined a host of other respected Gambians to appeal to the CEO of Hydara Plaza Sulayman Hydara to return the disputed land he bought in Serekunda to Jobe Kunda.
The land in question, which is opposite the Serekunda mosque, belonged to one Ali Jobe, who was the eldest son of the late Sayerr Jobe, the founder of Serekunda.
However, when Ali Jobe passed away the land was reportedly given to JC Faye by Isatou Jobe who was only one of the owner’s children. JC Faye went ahead to sell the land to the Hydara family. The Jobe Kunda family took the matter to court but after years of legal tussle, the Supreme Court recently ruled in favour of Mr. Hydara.
But according to impeccable sources, the Imam Ratib of Banjul, concerned about the potential explosion of the matter, led a delegation of elders to Sulayman Hydara to appeal to him to consider returning the land to the Jobe Kunda family.
The meeting, which was held last Saturday at the Hydara Plaza, Serekunda, was attended by Imam Ratib Kah, KMC imam – Modou Jobe, the alkalo of Dippa Kunda – Ebrima Shona, alkalo of Serekunda – Sering Baboucar Mass Jobe, Alhagie Mbaye Bobb, a retired civil servant and community leader in Banjul, Mr. Jumai Saidy, Ousainou Ceesay, Mustapha Saho, Buba Senghore, Aji Sirandou Janneh, and Aji Mariama Mama Touray.
The delegation of elders appealed to Mr. Hydara to exercise mercy and return the ownership of the land to the Jobe family.
A statement purportedly from the Serekunda alkalo, Sering Baboucar Mass Jobe said: “We the Serekunda community through this delegation are requesting Hydara to cede the property back to the Serekunda community. The terms and conditions of the act are at his discretion to determine. The existing mosque directly opposite the land is woefully inadequate for the purpose. The objective of the Serekunda community is to develop the land into a mosque and an Islamic center for the greater good of the community”.
He added: “Firstly, the Serekunda community recognises that the three pillars of our constitution namely the executive, the legislative and the judiciaries are sacrosanct and constitute the basis of our power sharing in the society and the essence of governance. The decision of the Supreme Court which is at the pinnacle of the judiciary should be accepted and complied with at all times. Because of the adversarial nature of most issues before the courts one or both parties may not be satisfied with the findings of the court. However, we in Serekunda accept and defer to the decision of the Supreme Court.”
The alkalo said since the court deals with legal matters as presented to them “it does not mean that other relevant and pertinent issues should not be considered as extenuating factors”.
“In the tradition of African jurisprudence and conflict resolution, issues raised in the above case can be addressed in a non-adversarial and consensual manner. Contending parties can and do come together in the spirit of reconciliation and brotherhood and settle difficult issues where adversarial methods of dispute resolution have failed,” he added.
He said it is “in this spirit that the Serekunda community along with the Alkalo brought together some eminent personalities and sought audience with Mr. Sulayman Hydara”.