By Makutu Manneh
The compensation process between the National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC) and the two ‘Kabilos’ of Jamburr ended in disagreement on Tuesday.
The area of disagreement centered on how NAWEC should pay the compensation to the beneficiaries (‘Kabilo’).
Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Energy, Lamin Camara, Tuesday told beneficiaries during a meeting at Jambur, that the Gambia Parliament has approved D87 million for the compensation of individuals whose compounds would be used for the construction of a Solar PV Plant in Jambur in the West Coast Region.
The Government of the Gambia with financing from the World Bank and the European Investment Bank intends to construct a Solar Plant in Jambur under the Gambia Electricity Restoration and Modernization Project (GERMP). The land area has already been demarcated and the census is completed for compensation for the project affected persons (PAPs) during the development of the resettlement action plan (RAP).
PS Camara said 37.5 million will be deposited into Santa-Juba Kabilo’s account. He did not however state the amount that should be given to the Mansa Kunda Kabilo.
Santa-Juba Kabilo and the Mansa Kunda Kabilo are the ‘Project Affected Persons of the Gambia Electricity Restoration and Modernization Project’.
The Mansa Kunda Kabilo were satisfied with the manner the Government planned to carry out the compensation, but some members of the Santa-Juba Kabilo were not pleased with the way the Government wanted to compensate them. The members of Santa-Juba Kabilo failed to agree among themselves as they expressed divergent opinions.
Ya Haddy, the Project Coordinator, told the villagers that Santa-Juba ‘Kabilo’s’ compensation money will be deposited into the ‘Kabilo’s’ Account. However this announcement did not go down well with members of the aforesaid ‘Kabilo who expressed divergent opinions about the issue She said the money meant for the Mansa Kunda ‘Kabilo’ will be paid to the individual land owner and the rest will be given to the Kabilo. She said this is because the Mansa Kunda Kabilo had already sold part of its land.
Sedat Bojang of Santa-Juba Kabilo was livid, saying the agreement they had with NAWEC sometime back was different from what they were telling them on that day (Tuesday 6th October 2020).
Sedat said their sisters should not benefit from the compensation as they were already married, and therefore they should only benefit their husbands’ properties.
He said: “A woman should only have rights in her matrimonial home and not in her father’s home. Once you are married, you cannot benefit from your father’s properties.”
He said his children and grandchildren should benefit from the compensation.
He urged the government to talk to NAWEC in order to avoid circumstances that will lead to conflict in their community.
Marima Bojang also a member of Santa-Juba Kabilo disagreed with Sedat Bojang’s position that women should not benefit from the money.
She said: “We should all benefit from the compensation as we are all members of the Kabilo. The money should not be deposited into our ‘Kabilo’ account. In order to avert conflict in our Kabilo, they should give us each of us our share of the money.”
“Since our youths will be employed in the project that is a development for us, I am happy,” she added.
She also advised the people of Jamburr to have patient and do things in the right way.
The authorities present were unable to convince the people into listening to them and after a long argument, the Acting Director of NAWEC , Nani Juwara, and his team as well as PS Lamin Camara left the gathering as the beneficiaries could not agree among themselves.
“We were unable to reach an agreement. The Permanent Secretary and his people said they will come back another day, but nothing has been finalized yet,” Jamburr Alikalo said.
Some of the attendees of the event left the venue before the meeting ended. Some of them were heard saying the Government should deposit their share into their individual accounts and not into their ‘Kabilo’ account.
Sherifo Sonko the head of Mansa Kunda Kabilo said they (his Kabilo) are happy with the coming of the project to their community and that they have no objection towards the compensation method.
The solar PV plant in Jamburr has capacity of 15-20MW with battery energy storage.