I follow the current issues regarding land grabbing and appropriation by the government, speculators and the so-called real estate developers with keen interest.
First, I think the decision by the government of President Alhaji Dawda Jawara to declare all land in most of the Kombos in March 1994 as state land predatory and discriminatory.
Second, individuals and communities throughout the Kombos including Kombo St Mary’s have had their lands taken from their without compensation. Take the case of Bakau.
Swathes of prized lands in Cape Point, Fajara, Kanifing, Jeshwang up to parts of Kotu were owned by the indigenous Bojang, Jammeh and Jatta families. The government of Jawara demarcated all these lands and allocated them as homes principally for their ministers, permanent secretaries, directorsand staff of the Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning. Plots were indiscriminately given to PPP supporters and other connected people. The rest was carved out into so-called industrial estates. For all these, the people got nothing. They became even more land-poor and cash-poor.
When Yahya Jammeh came, he continued the robbery of the land. He sought and got leashed ownership of acres of swamps where the mangroves grow in the Tanbi wetlands. Worse of all, the government seized the Katchikally outlands which they erroneously refer to as “Cape Point Extension Layout” and parcelled it out among homeowners evicted near the Banjul port area. To add salt to injury, these people from Banjul were paid tens of millions of dollars in addition to the plots given to them in Katchikally while the poor landowners in Bakau got absolutely nothing. What is good for the people of Banjul is good for the people of Bakau. This daylight robbery has to stop NOW!
The people of Bakau and the indigenous landowners throughout the Kombos should rise up and demand their dues. They should stop blindly following politicians who promise one thing when looking for power only to do the complete opposite once they have power. Better still, the people of Kombo should seek political power themselves so that nobody will twist and turn them round according to their whims and fancies. Enough is enough.
America is burning again: In part literally, as violence breaks out, police and their vehicles are attacked, and shops and offices are set on fire; and in part figuratively, as massive non-violent protests sweep across dozens of cities. As of this writing, at least 75 cities have seen protests. Black Americans are leading the agitation, but the protests are unquestionably inter-racial, with huge participation of white youth. It has already become the most mammoth display of anger and frustration against the system since the 1960s, when a nonviolent civil rights movement, led by a Mahatma Gandhi-inspired Martin Luther King, convulsed America, leading to civil and voting rights for black Americans.
All of this is happening during a Covid-19 pandemic. The US has suffered more than 1,00,000 deaths, the largest anywhere, with black people dying disproportionately. A social distancing advisory is still in place, but the sense of injustice and revulsion against the May 25 killing of George Floyd, a black man, by Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is so great that thousands, taking the risk of perilous infections, have come out on the streets.
In videos recorded by bystanders on their cell phones, released on social media and watched by millions, Chauvin, in police uniform, is seen choking Floyd’s neck with his knee for nearly nine minutes. Floyd is begging for mercy — “please, please… I can’t breathe” — but Chauvin, supported by three other police officers, does not let go. An hour later, Floyd was pronounced dead.
So what is at stake? Why are so many protesting?
It is not simply the death of a black man, but yet another moment of truth for America’s constitutional soul, a profoundly agonising plunge into America’s founding principles and contradictions. A haunting question of American history has returned. In a country claiming to be the first in the world to be founded on equality, why have black lives been so cheap? Can black Americans ever be treated with equality and dignity, instead of being brutalised?