By Bekai Njie
In the wake of communal tensions among members of the Manjago ethnic group within the Kombos and segments of their neighbours, the Government of The Gambia has strongly assured Manjajos that they are coequals and very significant players in Gambian society and should therefore, never consider themselves as minorities or marginalised people, according to the Office of The Government Spokesperson.
In a highly emotional yet very frank, amicable and productive meeting lasting almost two hours, the Minister of Lands, Regional Administration & Religious Affairs, Hon. Musa S. Drammeh who chaired the session on Monday, praised the Manjago community for their respect for law and order, discipline, hard work and peacefulness. Minister Drammeh told the crowded hall at the Quadrangle reflecting a cross-section of Manjago Alkalolu and representatives within the West Coast Region, that Government has been closely monitoring the unfortunate events among neighbours they have lived with peacefully for decades and that his ministry is determined to solve all these disputes amicably. “You are bonafide Gambians and have rights like all citizens and you should never allow anybody to diminish your importance nor use you or make you break the laws of The Gambia” he told them.
Addressing the emotional graveyard issue at Tananeh village, Kombo South and all its sensitivities, Hon Drammeh assured the gathering that his ministry has since struck a deal with one Mr. Seedu Barrrow by compensating him with a piece of land at the Brusibi Layout. This according to Mr. Drammeh, was meant to preserve the sanctity and respect befitting the dead and to consolidate on the gains made among neighbors lasting decades. “I expect no further problems with Mr. Barrow and that should bring closure to that problem” he remarked.
Regarding the ongoing problems in Daya village in the same district and other Manjago settlements, Minister Drammeh assured the gathering that he has been in close consultations with the Chiefs, the Governor of West Coast and the Ministry of Justice as well as the office of the Chief Justice to ensure that this issue is resolved peacefully using our traditional mechanism and the law where necessary.
In his remarks, the Minister of Fisheries and Water Resources, Hon. James Furmus Gomez, a respected elderly Manjago statesman among Gambian Catholics and Christians echoed similar sentiments and reaffirmed Government’s position in treating all citizens as equals. Mr. Gomez assured his tribesmen of Government’s unflinching resolve to promote peace at all times and its recognition of the Manjagos’ respect for the rule of law, hard work and dedication to duty in their respective spheres of life.
In his contribution, the veteran broadcaster and Manager of West Coast Radio, Mr. Peter Gomez, himself a Manjago, thanked Ministers Drammeh and Gomez for their timely intervention, wise counsel and the seriousness and significance they attach to a very emotional matter confronting the Manjago ethnic group. Mr. Gomez also admonished his people to continue to nurture their spirit of tolerance, hard work and respect for authority that they are known for. “Make sure you choose competent representatives, speak with one voice and accept the decisions of your representatives as biding”, Mr. Gomez told the crowd.
The meeting was attended by the Permanent Secretaries at Lands Messrs: Buba Sanyang and Saikou Sanyang as well as the Executive Secretary of GAFNA, Mr. Pa Yusufa J. Gomez.