Letters: Kiang West National Park must not be politicised


Dear editor,

I read in your esteemed medium about a recent declaration by President Barrow to transform Kiang West National Park with great concern.


As the holder of the Kiang Batelling Sibi Karang Mansa (crown custodian) and great grandson of Mansa Koto (late King of Kiang), I am hereby cautioning anyone against political interference in the Kiang West National Park.

The Batelling’s Sibi Karang Mansa has a traditional mandate, including the protection, preservation and promotion of their sacred sites, that include the “Kiti Soto and Jabindoor (widely sang in Lalo Kebba Drammeh’s Nteer song), as well as 12 other sacred, cultural and heritage sites dating back to thousands of years and can be found in and around Batelling’s portion of the land within Kiang West National.

These sites will never be managed or owned by outsiders and all past political leaders or establishments avoided interfering into Batelling’s centuries old traditional Soninke realm’s land affairs. The ones that tried always failed very miserably.

I want to remind the establishment that, I have personally made a commitment to develop the Kiang West National Park into a world-class destination, whilst protecting our traditional heritages and sacred sites that lie within the park. However, my efforts were sabotaged by politically motivated, false, unfounded and unsubstantiated allegations peddled against me by a former minister of justice. The allegations, although delayed my efforts to develop my native land among others, were later found to be false by a Commission of Enquiry but even in the face of my vindication, a certain faction of Banjul political class are still trying to frustrate my efforts to develop this land but they will fail.

Any outsider who tries to get involved and or dictate Kiang’s land matters will be defeated, even if they are backed by the president. Our centuries old years of sacred culture and heritage is being governed by our people alone and we will not entertain any outsiders to come and dictate us on our land. We are capable of developing our own lands.

My people do not need outsiders to develop Kiang West National Park, since I have the financial resources and international credibility to do so free from politics. Thus, I won’t allow Kiang people to be fooled by anyone.

These outsiders and their Banjul clique tried every possible way to either frustrate or delay my investments into Kiang, but they have forgotten that Kiang is my ancestral land. I cautioned the Ministry of Justice since many years now that their attempts to frustrate my investments, especially into Kiang West Park will fail. They didn’t listen, and today if these people think that President Barrow will give them my ancestral land on a silver plate, then they are mistaken. The only Kings of our land are our own people not the political establishment.

Let me assure my native Kiang people to be patient and remain faithful to Allah. I assure you of my personal and unprecedented, earmarked investments that even the Banjul based political government cannot match.

Prince Ebrahim Sanyang

Crown custodian, (Batttelining Sibikarang Manso)