Following the ban on the use of the tractors donated to women by the president of Republic to transport logs for timber dealers, Basiru Jarju, the chief of Kombo East District, Sunday convened an emergency meeting to discuss the issue. The meeting was held at his residence in Sohm village in the Kombo East District,West Coast Region.
The meeting brought together all the alkalolu, Council of Elders, ward councilors, VDC chairmen, APRC women leaders, and the security apparatus among a host of other important personalities within the district. The main issue discussed at the meeting was how to ensure that the ban is enforced to the letter; and also to avert the re-occurrence or the violation of the purpose the tractors.
Addressing the gathering, Chief Jarju warned the alkalolu and all the parties involved to strictly follow the conditions attached to the tractors and avoid the violation of the conditions under which they were donated. "I will never compromise with anybody who violates the rules, and whoever is found guilty of the act will certainly face the full force of the law. It was made very clear since at the onset that the tractors are given for agricultural purposes, to improve the welfare of Gambians especially farmers," he said.
He further warned the alkalolu, APRC women leaders, tractor drivers and all the parties involved to desist from using the tractors for transporting logs or other commercial purposes. He then urged everyone to remain vigilant and report any case of violation of the purpose of the tractors to the security apparatus or his office without any delay.
Chief Jarju also used the opportunity to lament the recent death of some Gambians in a landmine explosion in Casamance, something he described as unfortunate. He advised people to be careful about entering conflict areas, stressing that life is more important than money. "It is not wise enough to do your business at a war zone. It involves a lot of risk and the victim will always be the loser," he added.
The Kombo East chief used the occasion to advise the alkalolu to be more cautious in appending their signatures on any form or document to people, groups and associations. "Your stamps or signatures are very powerful and significant. They must not be left in the hands of criminals. It needs to be safeguarded," he further advised.
Chief Jarju also urged alkalos to settle matters at their own level through the Council of Elders in each village rather than referring every case to the tribunal. He finally thanked the people for their positive response, while again reminding them about the ban on the tractors being used for timber transportation.
On his part, Chief Inspector Alhaji Dibba of the Sohm Police Intervention Unit (PIU) gave out his telephone number to the people to report anybody found violating the order.
Musa Colly, the officer commanding, Kafuta Tumbung Military Post, assured that they will remain committed to their duties. He also warned people to desist from the act of violating the purposes of the tractors.
Lang Filly Sano, the alkalo of Mandinaba village who also doubles as the senior alkalo in Kombo East District; Alhaji Kujabi, the councilor of Kafuta Ward; Omar Darboe, the alkalo of Faraba Sutu; and Lamin Jarju, the alkalo of Sohm village, all promised that they will be vigilant. They further assured that they will also convene similar meetings at their respective villages to ensure that the message is transmitted accordingly.