By Tabora Bojang
A group of youths calling themselves Jam-City PDOIS family and supporters of the National Peoples Party have clashed in Jambanjelly over the renovation of the village market with the former asked to halt work just after a day into the renovation.
As the rainy season continues with torrential rains, women vendors at the Jambanjelly market are said to be experiencing huge discomfort selling their products.
Saikou Jawara, one of the PDOIS youths who helped raise over D20,000 to conduct repairs at the market, said he and his people visited Jambanjelly some time ago and held discussions with the women vendors who expressed frustrations over the poor conditions of the market and called for support.
He said following the discussions, the Jam City PDOIS reached out to other party faithfuls in and outside the country to mobilise resources to conduct repairs at the market.
“We discussed among ourselves and agreed that each group member made a contribution and that was when we started the collections, totaling D21,000. We bought 8 packets of corrugate and 4 sticks of palm rhuns [woods]and started work the following day. In fact, a close aide of the alkalo confided in us that they are very pleased with our efforts to repair the market.”
But according to Jawara, after they closed from work on the first day, all of a sudden, some NPP guys came at night with their own materials which they packed at the site. “The next morning as our people resumed work, the NPP guys asked us to stop but our workers refused and a push and pull ensued until the alkalo intervened only to tell us to stop work until they resolved the matter,” Jawara said.
He continued to say that the matter was never resolved and the alkalo ended up telling the PDOIS youths to leave for the sake of peace. “That was when we packed up our remaining materials and left knowing that PDOIS is strictly known for peace,” he stated.
According to Mr Jawara, this development came to them as a shock because the NPP leader President Barrow has been calling on other parties to join him in national development.
“It seems what he [Barrow] is saying and what they [NPP] are doing are completely different. The NPP are desperate to win the election and they will do everything to crush anything they feel would pose an obstacle.”
He added that they incurred losses with the remaining materials because the prices depreciated when they returned them to the shops.
Ba Omar Camara, the PDOIS representative for the group in Jambanjelly, said they understand that the NPP representatives in Jambanjelly have been given money by the president to conduct renovations but they did not do anything until the PDOIS youths started taking action regarding the market.
“They were saying that if we PDOIS youths renovate the market that would be a shame for them and that was why they started the hypocrisy. They approached our carpenter who was on the roof and ordered him to step down but he refused and it generated a lot of noise. Then they went to the alkalo. The VDC on their part also asked us to allow the NPP youths to do the work and that was when I called my PDOIS people and informed them about the development and they asked us to exercise patience and calm and let the matter go,” Camara explained.
However, Omar Saho the NPP Sanyang Ward secretary, denied suggestions that the PDOIS youths already started work but were subsequently told to leave following a protest by the NPP.
He said the NPP only intervened when the PDOIS youths withdrew because they could not agree with the women vendors over the payment of a carpenter.
“The women vendors and the Jambanjelly VDC asked us to carry out the work because the PDOIS youths could not afford the renovation. The PDOIS youth only came with 3 packets of corrugate and 25 pieces of palm sticks [wood]which cannot even do a quarter of the roof. They went to the women vendors and asked them to take care of the carpenter’s payment but the vendors refused and even tasked them to call Halifa Sallah which they did not. After that, they [the PDOIS youths]fell out with the women [vendors]and threatened that they would cancel the renovation. But surprisingly, we went there the next day and met a carpenter roofing the market even though this same carpenter informed us prior that he had not agreed to a price with the PDOIS youths. I asked him to stop but he insisted and that was when the women vendors also joined me but the carpenter never listened. So the women went to the alkalo to report the matter and the Alkalo ordered that they stop until a decision is taken by the VDC to determine who should carry out the work.
So the VDC having listened to both parties ruled that we [NPP youths] do the work because we have all the necessary materials and that was when we took over and bought 24 packets of corrugate and 225 pieces of palm sticks[wood]and provided the carpenter’s payment,” the NPP official explained.