By: Sandally Sawo
Heavily armed paramilitary officers are now guarding the Old Jeshwang football field, restricting all public activities in and around the area following an intense night protest over authorities’ decision to build classroom blocks on a portion of the area’s only field.
Protesters, mainly youth, came out onto the streets on Thursday night chanting No Field, No Peace.
They said they were marching to the Alkalo of Old Jeshwang, Mr. Musa Ceesay, to present their case.
They returned to the streets and chanted the No Field, No Peace slogan until a few minutes to midnight when they decided to disperse to regroup the next day.
Their ability to protest on the following day was, however, curtailed by the deployment to the football field of heavily armed paramilitary officers.
Meanwhile, work has started on the proposed expanded classrooms.
It has become apparent that the authorities have won in this clash of visions between them and the Old Jeshwang youth but the feeling of betrayal and despondence among the youth could be felt across the community.
“I do not agree that football should be a victim of education. In fact, they are all catalysts for development. Youths should not be deprived of their future because somebody, somewhere thinks what(football) they doing is not important,” complained one of the many youths, who have grown angry, over the authorities’ decision to build structures on the field.
Meanwhile, some community members maintained that education cannot be sacrificed on the altar of football development.
“Spaces in schools are shrinking on an annual basis and we need to expand the school to cater to the learning needs of our children,” a community member, who begged for anonymity, observed.
Be as it may, the football field conundrum in Old Jeshwayhighlights the area’s increasing problem with space for community development.
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