The venerable Imam’s arrest is connected to his opposition to President Jammeh’s land grabbing spree in the area. As a firm believer in the power and blessings of farming, Imam Gassama refuses to surrender his village’s fertile lands to a never satisfied leader. Mr. Jammeh has rice fields and farmlands across the country, including Brikamaba Darsilameh. The greedy leader won’t be satisfied until he has every fertile Gambian land in his possession.
Kairo News gathers that Imam Gassama had openly challenged the forceful seizure of poor people’s land, which is their sole source of survival. “As a community and religious leader with large following, Imam Gassama condemns grabbing of private lands by the President’s front-men land scouts.”
“These scouts comb rural areas in search of fertile land,” one Brikamaba resident reveals. “They will grab the best lands for the President without offering any compensation, and nobody daring to challenge them except Imam Gassama.”
Imam Cherno Gassama’s defiance invites full blown anger from an ego-filled leader who is always determined to punish anyone who stands on his interest. Mr. Jammeh’s agents and interest groups have been tasked to put the defiant Imam under their radar until October 30th when he delivered a sermon on leadership responsibility. In that he advised power holders to be mindful of reckless power abuse, which invites Allah’s anger. The Imam also wanted leaders to respect human rights because “Allah would judge all acts of oppression. ”
Mr. Jammeh and his cohorts thought the Imam’s sermon is enough for an ammunition to arrest and detain him, the goal being to punish Gassama and tame right conscious community leaders into submission.
Imam Gassama’s November 2nd arrest followed the Imams of Kanifing, Alh. Ousman Sawaneh and Jambang Borehole in Kombo South, Sheikh Omar Colley. Both Imams spend almost two months in detention. None of the detained clerics appears in court or charged, a flagrant violation of their constitutional rights.