Sanna Sabally, Former Junta Vice Chairman and native of Kassa Kunda in the Kombo Central District in the West Coast Region
By Buba Gagigo
Residents of Kassa Kunda accused former Junta Vice Chairman, Sanna Sabally and his brother of ‘conspiring’ with the West Coast Region Governor, Ousman Bojang to remove their Alkalo, Cherno Sabally.
Acting on a rumour, residents of the Kombo Central village converged at the office of the Governor of the West Coast Region on Tuesday to verify the rumour they claimed to have heard from a credible source.
Speaking ahead of the meeting, they had with the Deputy Governor, the Village Development Committee (VDC) spokesperson, Bakary Sanneh said the village is getting to 100 years, but they have never experienced such problems until when Sanna Sabally and his brother Sainey Sabally returned from exile.
“We have been together for a long time without any problem. However, we have a big disappointment after the appointment of the new governor (Ousman Bojang) recently. We understand that they want to change our Alkalo (Cherno Sabally) who is loved and living in peace with us,” he said.
He said the authorities have never consulted them before taking the decision, thus, they would never accept any other Alkalo.
The VDC spokesperson has accused Sanna Sabally and his brother, Sainey Sabally of being behind the problem.
“This entire problem is caused by Sanna Sabally and his brother, Sainey Sabally. They said they will remove our Alkalo, and we will never agree with that because two people cannot change our Alkalo. It’s true that the Fulas are the first settlers of Kassa Kunda, but the Mandinkas, Jolas, and Manjakos later joined them for nearly 100 years. The Fula Kunda in Kassa Kunda are Sabally Kunda, Jawo Kunda and Jallow Kunda,” he said.
The Village Development Committee spokesperson gave the reason the former Junta Vice Chairman and his brother are allegedly plotting the removal of Alkalo Cherno Sabally who is also from the Sabally clan.
“The first Alkalo was in Sabally Kunda and he died. Jawo Kunda came and he passed away. Sabally Kunda took over again and he passed away. Jallow Kunda took over again and he passed away. The current Alkalo is from Sabally Kunda. This current Alkalo did not do anything wrong, but Sainey and Sanna Sabally want him replaced because they said the current (West Coast Region) Governor is their friend. They said the reason they want to remove the Alkalo is that the women’s garden that their (Sainey and Sanna Sabally ) father gave to the village women, since 1989, that’s what they are claiming. They wanted to sell the land and the Alkalo refused. They also want to take our football field, and the Alkalo refused. These are the reasons they want to change the Alkalo.”
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Another Kassa Kunda Resident Saja Sanneh alleged that Sabally told them that he would ensure that the current Alkalo is removed.
“Sanna told us here (Governor’s office) that why will the Alkalo take the village and give it to the Jolas and other tribes? The Alkalo told him these tribes are the ones that always answer to his calls. He (Sanna) said he would see to it that the Alkalo is removed because he (Sanna Sabally) is powerful. He said whatever he commands in any office in the Gambia is what will happen,” Sanneh alleged.
Mod Jawo, Deputy Alkalo to the current Alkalo, Cherno Sabally praised his boss for his ‘uprightness’.
“I have been deputizing Alkalos for 38 years in Kassa Kunda, but there is no one like the current Alkalo, Cherno Sabally. He has never been involved in any land dispute. They said they want to change the Alkalo because he is blind. I am his deputy. If he is blind, I am not,” Jawo said.
The VDC Chairman Kalilu Sanyang also alleged that when Sanna Sabally returned from exile; he said he came to Kassa Kunda to regulate the village because the village is not regulated.
Sanyang added that the Alkalo told Sanna maybe he got wrong information, and urged him (Sanna) to discuss with the VDC but he refused, saying the VDC came recently.
“Sanna has insulted the entire Kassa Kunda and he wants to insult the entire country. He told us whatever he commands in any office in the Gambia is what will happen, but it seems to be true because when this Governor (Ousman Bajong) got appointed, he (Sanna) said the Governor is his childhood friend, and now this happened. Tell the Government we do not want a problem, but we are not afraid. Let them leave our Alkalo. This is discrimination. Are blind persons not working for the government? When has it become wrong for a blind person to be denied being an Alkalo?” Sanyang said.
After spending more than four hours on the ground, the Deputy Governor, Musa Suso showed up for a meeting with the aggrieved villagers.
Following about an hour meeting with the Deputy Governor Musa Suso, the VDC spokesperson said Suso has appealed to them to be patient until Governor Ousman Bojang who reportedly travelled with the First Lady to the United States of America, returns.
“We have explained the problem to the Deputy Governor. We told him that the Governor wants to remove our Alkalo because they said he is blind. The Deputy Governor told us his boss (the Governor) is not around. He appealed to us to keep patience. He also asked us whether we have seen or received any letter that said the Alkalo is sacked, and we told him that we didn’t. He asked us to wait, and he will communicate with the Governor when he comes back and they will update us,” Bakary Sanneh said after their meeting with the Deputy Governor Suso.
After a meeting with the Kassa Kunda elders, Deputy Governor Musa Suso told Kerr Fatou what he discussed with the villagers.
“We have discussed with them and we have agreed on terms. They said they had the rumour that their Alkalo is removed and before that, they said they had discussed with the Governor to call their council of elders to discuss about their village Alkaloship. I told them I need evidence to see whether they have received any letter that sacked their Alkalo. But they said they didn’t receive any letter, but it’s a rumour that they heard from a reliable source. I told them I have not seen the letter and the Governor had travelled. We are expecting him to come back tomorrow (Wednesday). We will explain to him what happened here today (Tuesday). I asked them to go back to their village and maintain peace,” he said.
The Kassa Kunda Residents have accused Governor Ousman Bojang of the West Coast Region of having the intention to change the Alkalo of Kassa Kunda, Cherno Sabally and replace him with Sheriffo Sabally with the influence of the Sabally brothers.
We would bring you the reaction of Sanna and Sainey Sabally in our subsequent publication, if available.