The population of the Gambia is expected to reach 5 million few decades to come. The costs of living is skyrocketing while there are no minimum wages, no job creation factories and a vibrant agriculture. I need not to discuss corruption which is worst than COVID’19 in The Gambia. As I woke up today, I cannot but reflect seriously on the plight of the tenants in The Gambia. I would argue that tenants are living the hardest lives in The Gambia as sometimes the monthly rent is equal to or more than the average salary – is this trend sustainable? Definitely not!. Why are our legislators and cabinet silent about it? I would in fact venture more to ask why are some tenants asked to pay in hard currencies (USD, EURO, Pounds or CFA)?

Some land owners deliberately refuse to renovate their houses if the need arise especially when they are not the one staying in that compound. It is the tenants themselves in most cases who dig from their pockets to make the necessary renovation because they are the one’s affected.

The situation is very appalling as some landlords are no more taking monthly payment but only half year of payment (6months) when the tenants even find it difficult to pay a regular monthly bill.

Land owners give notice to tenants at anytime of their convenient to vacate their properties as a mean of settling their differences. This puts undue pressure on most families and create a situation so difficult and unexpected.

Mr. President the physical challenged population are being seriously discriminated by land owners and most are not ready to house them due to their physical appearance. This is a very disheartened revelation as those in such situation they don’t demand it or wish for it, but with their condition that warrant all the necessary attention your government has not heeded to their plight at all. They deserve the same equal of treatment and consideration like any other citizens and looking at their situation with most of them no job accorded to them besides begging is important to address the housing problem they are battling with.

Tenants are part of this country and their interest need to be well considered, they hope to sleep under a roof. All beings are born equal with inalienable rights amongst which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – unfortunately, our tenants are unable to get the happiness as all they have worked throughout their lives is used to settle rent or they are kicked out!

Are the landlords to be blamed for the tenancy challenges? Partly as some are greedy but the buck squarely remains with the government to have proper regulations. The landlords certainly know how much they have bought the lands, used for the buildings and deserve a return on their investments. What is stopping the government from building 10,000 low cost homes and give them out on rental at a minimum price range? Is Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation not supposed to play this part? Its both shameful and sad that a retired official would end up begging after contributing so much into social security providing fund yet begging is the only viable solution for his or her survival unless he or she has kids abroad or home who could support him/her.

Further on tenancy , in The Gambia today, especially in Banjul, West Coast and KMC housing is a challenge and very expensive to rent Imagine a single room rents for D1000, room and parlour for 2500 and double room and parlour for D5000 to D6000 – is this for real? it’s too expensive yet no one says anything about it – is the political will there? Where are our regulations?

Who, when and how will this expensive rent issue be addressed in The Gambia?. The Gambia is very expensive and it is the poor who are severely suffering with little man power to get their own compound as the other top 10% of the country shall we die in poverty?

Parent are sacrificing everything to house their families with so many challenges, most of the parents have to beg monthly to pay the rent and other expenses. The average Gambian is dying slowly yet very painful death – while the executive and their excesses are mind blowing.

Mr. President, you were once a rent collector and you well know the ordeal the tenants are going through. I was expecting this will be among the top issues you will address by your government. Where are we on this? Or its no longer a priority of your government? He who feels it knows it slogan is still alive and well. Is this country moving forward ‘’you are on your own syndrome?

Mr. President, to be poor is not chosen by anyone rather is where one finds him or herself due to circumstances. Everyone is working hard to pull themselves and family out of poverty but in a country where the average earns less than D100 per day, how can this be possible?

I am appealing for your government to address this situation and provide regulations that will serve both the interest of the land owners and the tenants but most importantly task the SSHFC and lands Ministry to start building affordable homes for the populace. This is the only way to reduce the exorbitant housing costs.

Thank you.

Ebrima Nyang.

(GDC Assistant Administrative Secretary).

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