Apr 7, 2008, 9:02 AM
horticulturists at New Jeshwang have been confronted with dilemma after a man
claimed ownership of the land on which they grow their vegetables.
According to the women, different men who they couldn’t identify threatened to “bulldoze” all the vegetables in the garden for construction purposes. Since then, the women have been worried and frustrated about their very green vegetables.
Aja Isatou Gassama who is believed to have been working in the garden for over twenty years, said that this is where they have been earning and still continue to earn their living, noting that it is through the gardening venture that they are able to send their children to school.
“This garden is where I was able to send my children to school and also earn something for my family,” she said, adding that they have not been given any notice and that the garden is their property and they are on the verge of leaving that place.
She called on the government to intervene and settle the matter because the garden is where they earn their living.
After the intervention, the area Ward Development Committee together with the Kanifing Municipal authorities, realised that the group claiming ownership of the lands are identified as close associates of the government.
According to the Jeshwang Ward authority, the minister of Local Government and Lands has admitted giving authority to the claimants. The minister has reportedly asked for a halt on the planned construction until the matter is resolved.
Despite the threats, the women gardeners vowed to continue work on their garden without fear and that they are not prepared to negotiate their rights with anyone over ownership of the garden.
Habib M.L. Ceesay, councilor of Jeshwang Ward said that he was not happy with the way the land is allegedly allocated to others. He said that his office was not aware of the recent allocation.
“The ward committee has begun engagement with the Local Government Ministry with a view ease out a deal for lasting peace,” he assured.