Life is slowly coming back to normal for used-cloth sellers at Serekunda Market who were allowed to resume business barely a week ago. The resumption followed an apparent three-week ban by local authorities.
“We have been deprived to sell here for three weeks now,” claimed a second-hand clothing seller. “The excuse was if there is a fire outbreak, the rescue team will not be able to gain access to the inside of the market,” Nema Ceesay said.
Nema had earlier expressed their high level of desperation. “Our shops – where we earn our genuine living – were taken away from us for no genuine reason.”
Ceesay said officers comprising of Kanifing Municipal Police, Gambia Fire and Rescue Service, Immigration and Paramilitary Police presided over their expulsion.
He said efforts to negotiate their expulsion from their selling points were fruitless because they contacted all the heads of the various units but none of them was taking responsibility.
He said it reached a time when “things were getting out of hand” because they are forced to start using their savings.
Momodou Tunkara, a used cloth seller, said “We are finally allowed to sell after maltreating us for more than three weeks, but it’s like they don’t have any choice – they cannot deprive us our constitutional rights.”
Pa Landing Bojang, 34, a resident of Sukuta, said “I have no helper; I am only struggling to pay my children’s schooling. In the last three weeks my used clothing is here packed.”
“If I do not come here, how can I feed my family and pay for my children’s schooling. This is all I have been selling for more than ten years. I have no power or option but to only plead with the authorities to let us stay.”
On May 27, 2014 a joint task force involving municipal security and police officers cracked down on women vendors at Serekunda Market selling close to the Banjul garage.
The Public Affairs Manager of the Kanifing Municipal Council confirmed being bombarded with complaints from women vendors deprived from selling at Serekunda Market. Fatou Sallah would not however go into the nitty-gritty of the story.