Land dispute in Malambay village shows no sign of abating


…as Siaka Stevens’ sons and villagers seek agreement

August 2, 2016 By Joseph S. Margai

Inhabitants of Malambay village are still lock in a dispute over land with children of the late President Siaka P. Stevens, as the former accused the latter of destroying their crops.

The tussle over land in Malambay village, in the Western Area Rural District, ensued when former Minister of Finance in the Stevens government, Hon. Hassan GbessayKanu, handed over a document which he claimed was given to him by the deceased president, in trust for his children. The children, in turn, are now claiming ownership of over 70 acres of land in Malambay village.

Already, accusations of illegal activity, including brushing and destroying of crops, have been levied against the children of the late president by the villagers, who say they are in a state of fear as dozens of youth are deployed in the village on a daily basis to forcefully brush the land.

At a meeting organised by Hon. Hassan Gbessay Kanu at his Fellow Farm property on Sunday, 31 July, the villagers expressed their grievances over the manner at which the Stevens have continued to brush lands in the village even though they have been warned to hold on until an amicable agreement is brokered.

Hassan Tejan Kargbo, village head of Malambay, told the gathering that even though the Stevens have been warned to desist from brushing the lands in the village, they were still doing it.

“We had wanted to attack them but because we were expected to meet and find a way forward we maintained the peace. Their hired youth were seen brushing lands at the backyard of our people, and if the situation continues like this, things will be blown out of proportion,” he warned. He alleged that the Stevens have gone ahead to brush crops of groundnuts, potato vines, cassava, among other crops, planted by villagers.

A member of the committee that was appointed to ensure that the dispute is being redressed, Mohamed C. Kabia, issued a warning to the Stevens to stop doing anything on the land at Malambay village until further notice.

“It is a defiant behaviour; this committee has earlier warned you people not to continue to brush the land until an amicable solution is sought but you have gone ahead to defy. If the villagers want to be ruthless it would have been another problem that might probably get out of hands,” he said angrily.

Hon. Hassan Gbessay Kanu, also expressed his dissatisfaction over the allegation that the Stevens have continued to brush lands in dispute, even though they have been told not to do so.

“Whatever the people of Malambay and the Stevens have done, whether justifiable or not, will be addressed amicably. I am aware that the people of Malambay have sold some portions of the land belonging to the Stevens but everything will be settled,” said the veteran politician.

However, Jack Stevens, an elderly son of the late former president, told the gathering that they had continued to brush the land in order to ascertain acreage of land stated in the document provided by Hon. Kanu.

He said since the committee and Hon. Hassan Gbessay Kanu have warned them to stop any further activity on the disputed land, they would abide to that until a resolution had been reached.

Another meeting has been summoned for next Sunday, where a friendly agreement between the two parties is expected to reached.

Meanwhile, Hassan Tejan Kargbo, early on Monday informed this reporter that over 200 hundred youth were seen in the village brushing and issuing threatening remarks to the residents.