On land issues in Gambia

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Conflicts over land is becoming a major problem in The Gambia and are widely recognised as ‘most serious’ in recent years. The growing pressure on land in the urban centers and along the coast due to population growth, calls for proper and thorough evaluation to avoid potential conflict among communities.

The growing nature of land scarcity in the communal areas does not, however, mean that conflicts over land are always economically motivated.

However, as the demand for agricultural uses is always unlimited in communal areas, land cases may often be better understood as socially induced.

It was a similar incident among members of the same community over a mining quarry that claimed the lives of three some months ago in Faraba Bantang. It is now between the Gunjur and Berending, two neighbourly communities all in the Kombo South, which left one dead.

It is high time government put in place firm measures to avoid further calamities. Even though, most of the lands in The Gambia are communal owned, but the state has power over all lands when it comes to all seriousness. Land issues, particularly its access, ownership and use, are often central to understanding the dynamics of conflict and post-conflict settings.

This reminds us about virtues as citizen as nation building calls for collective effort to make this country great.

So let’s all play our little part in our country’s march towards greater development especially in this found freedom. This thematic issue can be minimized only if all approaches are combined as required by the specific case and adapted to the specific situation with respect to existing rules and overall cultural, political, legal, economic and conditions of the prevailing social framework. It can only be resolved and avoided if addressed by an integral and system-oriented approach. Core elements of conflict resolution and prevention are therefore the establishment of a state under the rule of law and implementation of good governance to minimise abuse of power and corruption

We thus call on the government to take a firm stance and view communal land conflicts as a priority, before it gets out of hand. 

This also reminds us about peace which is indispensable in the development of any nation. We should always remember that The Gambia is widely renowned for its peace when it comes to its citizens’ peaceful coexistence irrespective of one’s religious or ethnic affiliation. God bless The Gambia!

“People like to say that the conflict is between good and evil. The real conflict is between truth and lies.”

Don Miguel Ruiz