An Open Letter to the Minister of Lands & Regional Government
By Saidina Alieu Jarjou
Hon Minister, I submit to you that I am dumbfounded and traumatized beyond human imagination. It is in that regard I thought it wise to send you an open letter from Central River Region by registering my total frustration.
It is no doubt that history will not be kind to you since such is happening under your watch. I submit to you that this controversy has resulted in various types of inequalities and biased distribution of land resources in The Gambia. Literature has revealed that land has been subjected to conflict, invasion and exploitation thus resulting in the many discrepancies that exist in the new Gambia.
Hon Minister, I doubt you sleep happily at night considering the daily news emanating from the media with reference to land conflict. Please note that the high increasing rate of land conflict in our country has greatly affected the socio-economic and political positions. Additionally, this situation has caused many conflicts, and especially in the Kombos. I am of the view that your ministry has failed woefully on its duties to address the situation we are confronted with as a nation. Since the land question and past inequalities remain unresolved in the new Gambia.
Hon. May I bring it to your attention that our country is moving towards an unknown destination and from a Peace and Conflict perspective if care is not taken I am afraid it can be a potential factor to civil war?
Disputes over access to land and valuable mineral resources drove wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone, and the nearly 25-year war in Sri Lanka was fought over geographic claims to an ethnic homeland for the country’s minority population. (Bruce, 2013). However, MLK Jr argued that it is high time government put in place firm measures involving land cases to avoid further calamities. Land issues, particularly its access, ownership, and use are often central to understanding the dynamics of conflict and post-conflict settings.
Understanding the role land plays in the conflicts of so many nations can help policymakers develop strategies to ease tensions among groups, limit conflict, and potentially avoid violence and the poverty trap that comes from recurring violence (Collier et al., 2003).