Ganta Land Dispute Far from Over

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The Mandingoes in Ganta have threatened to boycott the ensuing special senatorial election scheduled for December 16, 2014.  This is because of their dissatisfaction over what they call the unlawful occupation of their lands.

Speaking to the Daily Observer  in an exclusive interview this week, the Mandingo spokesperson, Voofee Jabateh,  said the Ganta Mandingo  Community is displeased over many issues surrounding  the land disputes settlement in Ganta.

Although payments by government were made in connection with the land disputes to allow claimants or respondents to quit the properties paid for, most of the properties paid for are yet to be released to the rightful owners.  Some prominent citizens are still encroaching on to historic properties owned by the Mandingoes.

Voofee Jabeteh revealed that the Concerned Women Building in Ganta was built on a disputed land and during the recent land dispute settlement, the Government of Liberia paid the amount of L$ 1.3 million to the organization’s leaders, but the building is yet to be released to the rightful owner.

The dissatisfaction over the issue surrounding the land being occupied by the Concerned Women, led to the death of the claimant,  Ansumana Kromah yesterday.

He also accused one of Nimba’s prominent sons and senatorial aspirant, Cllr. Yarmin Quiqui Gbeisay, of encroaching on a parcel of land near the Ganta General Market, which is believed to be the grave site of the first Imam of Ganta.

Cllr. Gbeisay during the recent senatorial debate on the 28th November 2014 in Ganta, was quizzed by one Madina Jabateh over the encroachment of land near the market.  But he denied ever encroaching on any disputed land in Ganta saying, the land on which he has his cold storage belongs to an individual from whom he was renting.  But he did not name  the individual.

Spoke person Jabateh said, “The area where Cllr. Gbeisay built his cold storage is the historic site of the Mandingo, because it is the area where our first Imam was buried in 1968.”

Said encroaching on the historic burial site of Imam Sherriff was a total underestimation of the Mandingoes in Ganta because of their numbers.

 The issue surrounding the Ganta Women Center in Ganta had been in the local media recently, when one caller called on the leadership of the women to give an account of the L$ 1.3 million received from the government for the building.

His request sparked many criticisms from the public, including some elders, who said the caller had been trying to defame the good character of the leader, Musu Kardamie.  They said the money was used for other development in Ganta.

But spoke person Jabateh is insisting that the building should be turned over to the rightful owner immediately since compensation was paid for it.

The Concerned Women Building was built around 2004 and 2005 by the women in Ganta under the leadership of Musu Kardamie, with support from an NGO believed to be connected to the International Rescue Committee.

But the parcel of land in question was claimed by the late Ansumana Kromah and during the final dispute settlement headed by Mr. Musa Bility, the case was registered as one of the disputed areas among the cases in Ganta.

While the case was being registered, the Nyan Poryorr family of the Mano Tribe also claimed the same area and it was believed that the case was taken to the court between both this family and the Concerned Women.

Despite payment, the building is still being occupied by the Concerned Women.

It is not clear whether this building was turned over to the last claimant (The Poryor Family), but the Concerned  Women appear to be still in  control of it, something that displeases the Mandingoes.

Although, the Concerned  Women through their spoke person Yar Gbatu, confirmed receipt of full payment for the building, but said the money was used for other development within the community.  And the organization has not explained why they are still occupying the building.

Meanwhile, the Mandingoes are saying that unless their plights are addressed they will not take part in the election.

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