Wednesday, July 24, 2024
30.2 C
City of Banjul
HomeGambia NewsGAMBIA: HAMAT BAH'S MISLEADING AND BASELESS PRESS RELEASE

GAMBIA: HAMAT BAH’S MISLEADING AND BASELESS PRESS RELEASE

Donate to Freedom Radio Today

The leader of the Opposition UDP Ousainou Darboe raised a pertinent question about the President being allocated land which is said to be the official residence of the Chief Justice. After many weeks, the Minister of Lands now responded only to say that the UDP leader’s comments were in bad faith because many decades ago, Darboe himself was allocated a piece of land by the Government. And recently, he said Darboe’s close family members were also allocated state land when he was both a foreign minister and vice president respectively.

Minister Hamat Bah then went on to confirm that indeed his Ministry had allocated the said land to Pres. Barrow because the land was unoccupied, and that his Ministry has the mandate to allocate land to all Gambians including the President.

Instead of the Minister speaking to the legality of the land allocated to the President, Hamat decided to go personal by bringing in circumstantial and baseless arguments. Land allocated to Darboe has not been a subject of query by anyone yet. Land allocated to Darboe’s family members is not the subject of the query. Minister Hamat Bah never said that the lands given to Darboe and his family members were illegally done. Therefore, what is the relevance of turning the issue on the personality of Darboe?

In the same vein, Hamat Bah did not say whether the land allocated to Barrow was done legally or illegally. He just spoke about the mandate of his office to allocate land to citizens. But since his Ministry has not allocated land to all Gambians, therefore what is the justification for one Gambian, Mr. Barrow to be given land out of the lot? Hamat Bah never said that the President had applied for a state land. If so, and for the purposes of transparency and accountability, Hamat Bah should have rather displayed that application form of the President to show that due processes were followed. This is the issue Hamat must speak to than to attempt to confuse, divert and distort the issue.

The State Lands Act is very clear as to how to allocate land to a citizen. By the requirements provided in the Act, Pres. Barrow does not qualify to be allocated a state land because he already has his own piece of land as per his declaration of assets before the IEC for the 2021 presidential elections. Therefore, the issue is not whether Mr. Darboe or anyone was given state land before. The issue is, why has his Ministry allocated a state land to Pres. Barrow? What is their justification to do so?

Secondly, land allocated to the Chief Justice as his residence cannot just be retrieved to be handed over to someone else. Citizens need to know when was this land allocated to the Chief Justice in the first place? Secondly, why was this land not built for the purpose it was meant for such that it has to be lying there fallow only to now be retrieved? These are the issues that Hamat Bah should address for public information rather than seeking to politicize the issue and then accuse someone else of doing that instead.

State lands are not the property of the Government or the Minister or the President. State lands belong to all Gambians, and this is why there is a law to guide how to allocate to citizens. Therefore, Hamat Bah and his Ministry have no authority to share and allocate state lands as they like. This allocation by Hamat Bah constitutes an abuse of office which is grounds for his removal by the National Assembly through a motion of censure under Section 75 of the Constitution. I urge NAMs to invoke this provision to sack Hamat Bah immediately.

Furthermore, the President must be reminded of Section 68(4)(c) of the Constitution which states that, “The President shall not use his or her position as such or use information entrusted to or received by him or her in an official position directly or indirectly to enrich himself or herself or any other person.” In fulfillment of his oath of office therefore I urge Pres. Adama Barrow to immediately return this piece of land back to the Ministry of Lands and henceforth refrain from taking any state land allocation because he does not qualify.

Failure by the President to return this piece of land immediately, I urge UDP and indeed all political parties, CSOs and citizens to challenge the allocation of this piece of land to the President in the courts. There is no legal, moral and economic justification to allocate land to the President even if he does not already have a piece of land of his own, simply because he is the President who is well accommodated by the people.

For The Gambia, Our Homeland

By Madi Jorbateh

Latest articles

GAMBIA: DEMOLITION FOR THE BANJUL PORT EXPANSION COMMENCES WITH THE TURKISH ALBAYRAK GROUP AND GPA

Significant participant in port operations, Albayrak Group of Turkiye, has started managing a project...

GAMBIA: NATIONAL ASSEMBLY APPROVES APPOINTMENT OF 5 COMMISSIONERS FOR AIC

Neneh Macdouall Gaye, John Charles Njie, Baboucarr Cham, Emil Touray, and Ya Amie Touray...

GAMBIA: EUROPEAN UNION AND THE GAMBIA INK NEW YOUTH EMPOWERMENT INITIATIVE DEAL

On Tuesday, the European Union and the Government of the Gambia executed a new...

GAMBIA: SUSPECT STABBED HIMSELF AFTER BELIEVING THAT HIS VICTIM HAD DIED, ACCORDING TO PROSECUTION WITNESS

Arona Tine, who is accused of killing a Bureau de Change employee, admitted to...

More like this

GAMBIA: DEMOLITION FOR THE BANJUL PORT EXPANSION COMMENCES WITH THE TURKISH ALBAYRAK GROUP AND GPA

Significant participant in port operations, Albayrak Group of Turkiye, has started managing a project...

GAMBIA: NATIONAL ASSEMBLY APPROVES APPOINTMENT OF 5 COMMISSIONERS FOR AIC

Neneh Macdouall Gaye, John Charles Njie, Baboucarr Cham, Emil Touray, and Ya Amie Touray...

GAMBIA: EUROPEAN UNION AND THE GAMBIA INK NEW YOUTH EMPOWERMENT INITIATIVE DEAL

On Tuesday, the European Union and the Government of the Gambia executed a new...