Alhaji Malanding Demba: The man of ‘3 days’
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
The late Alhaji Malanding Demba could be described as the man of the ‘three days’. He was blessed by Allah to efficiently and effectively rule his people during the ‘three days’in thepolitical history of The Gambia. He served in the Colonial era,the First and Second Republics under Sir John Paul, Sir Alhaji Farimang Singhateh, Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara and Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya A.J.J.Jammeh.
According to records, the late Alhaji Malaneing Demba was
born on the 2nd of February 1916 by the parents of Ebriama Faba Demba and Mariama
Ndaine Bojang. However some mentioned that he was born before 1916. Since childhood, he was solely responsible of running the
errands for his father with farming as his main occupation. His father too was
a very prominent figure during the colonial era. His father served as both an
Alkalo of Siffoe and Chief of Kombo South District as well.
Ebriama Faba Demba's performance and contribution was so immense that in 1944 during the Annual Chief Conference reffered to in mandinka as MANSA MBEGO held in Janjangbureh. He was honoured with a medal from Queen Elizabeth 1 through the colonial Governor. His father died on the 16 of April 1954 and the position as the village head was transferred to him as the eldest son through the support of Ba Ansunding Demba, Sheich Ebrima Kabiro Kanteh, Nuha Sima, Bamalang Demba, Njundu Camara, Baba Doo Demba, Malang Sii Kebba Demba, Banfally Demba.
The following were his contributions in national development.
When Alhaji Malanding Demba took the mantle of leadership in 1954. According to
history, then Siffoe Village was very small with only the newly built village
mosque and Bantaba as the village property without western or formal education. Through his efforts, the village was blessed to have a
According to history the primary school started in his compound
in 1963 and at that time it was running in two 2 shifts, there was western
education during the day and at night . As the population increased, he gave
his farmland to the villagers to build the primary school in 1965. In 2004, he
gave a vast portion of land for the construction of Siffoe Upper and Senior
Secondary Schools. In the 1990s, he gave land to Siffoe Kafo Farm to construct
Adult Literacy Centre.
In 2006 another land was given to GTTI to construct multi-purpose centre for the rural poor and another land for the construction of the first Gambia Arabic College. In 2007, he gave land for the construction of Islamic Arabic School. He never charged a single bututs for all these lands. In fact there is hardly a village in Kombo where a child from that village did not receive his or her education in his compound and he hosted many teachers.
In order to eradicate hunger, he took farming as his main
occupation with his entire family. His food store was never empty and every
year's produce will meet that of the previous year. Nobody in the village will
produce more than him in groundnut, coos, maize, Findi etc. There is hardly a
household in the village that never benefited from his food store and his food
aid reached to those in the satellite villages and districts.
He was very instrumental during Sir Dawda Jawara's TESITOO program. He initiated many farming and gardening projects with his villagers especially the women folks. He was awarded a certificate of Agriculture during the First Republic. Because of President Yahya Jammeh's love for agriculture, Alhagie Malanding Demba gave him a boast in that venture by giving him a vast portion of land in his village mainly for agricultural purposes. He gave land to Siffoe Kafo Farm to embark on farming and gardening projects which promoted honey production in Siffoe.
HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL SANITATION;
Through his efforts and with the help of the Roman Catholic Mission, his village was blessed to have a weekly clinic for pregnant women and children during the first republic, to a daily clinic in the second republic. This health center received a great boast after the twining relationship between Siffoe Village and Bellace city of France. However, it is worth to note that he personally gave his resources to the health center and sometimes villagers used his personal cars to transport their patients to the nearest health centers.
He always used the public gatherings to urge the villagers to take proper care of their environment. During the Muslims feasts such as KORITEH andTOBASKI ,he will advise the villagers to clean the environment and avoid bush fire. He supported many environmental clubs in the village financially or otherwise. This was why in 2005 when there was a National Environmental Competition, his village came second after Janjangbureh nationwide and was awarded a certificate and a cash prize of D75, 000.00.
His love for humanity and societal welfare was demonstrated
in different angles. In 1981, when there was a foil coup d'etat, his home
served as a sort of a refugee camp for many people whose lives were in danger.
Again when the Casamance crisis was at its tense period in the 1990s, many
refugees were camped in Siffoe, although they were mainly by UNFPA, UNICEF and
UNCHR but he too was very helpful to those refugees in providing them with
People whose lives became unfortunate due to natural disaster such as flood, storm, fire outbreak always received his aid in many ways. The widows, orphans, needy Islamic scholars and students, visitors and strangers were always assisted by him. He gave compounds to many without asking for a butut and sometimes helps them financially to build houses.
In any village, two important figures must be recognized i.e
the Akalo and the Imam. During his tenure, he always exercise cordial
relationship between his household and those of the five Khalifa's (Imams)
(Ebrima Kabiro Kante, Alhaji Mamading Kanteh, Ebrima Ata Kanteh and Alhaji
Momodue Kanteh) and helped them greatly in their functions as religious
Due to smooth and cordial relationship which existed between him and Imams, mutual love, unity and understanding prevailed throughout the village during his reign. He also instituted a strong council of elders from the various wards in order to foster peace and unity within the village. He also instituted a formidable VDC which worked within the norms, tradition and culture of the village
During his days, he was the longest serving Alkalo in the
whole Gambia. He occupied the postion of Alkalo 58 years. He was a member of
the council of elders for the Kombo South District and also a spokesman for the
Alkalolu of Kombo South. During his reign the people of Siffoe did not have the
habit of reporting one another to the Police they hardly summon one another to
the District Tribunal or Brikama Magistrate Court.
Going to court was not the
culture of the villagers and normally they feel afraid whenever the issue of
going to court is mentioned. Through his efforts and efficiency all civil
matters were treated adequately in the village. His role in peace making within
the whole of Kombo West was evidently seen during his days.
Hardly will he hear a problem in Kombo without his proper intervention and then Kombo South district Chiefs really found their work very simple for then because of his dynamic role as a member of the council of elders and spokesman for the Alkalo. Many land disputes in Kombo were solved peacefully because of his intervention with the relevant authorities. The villagers of Siffoe never in history go to Brikama Magistrate Court since he took the mantle of leadership up to July 2011.
The late Alhaji Malanding Demba was a man of trust, honesty, loyalty, content and love for all. He was never in any way been found wanting for misconduct since colonial days up to his last day on earth, His love for the government and the good people within the government needs not to be over emphasized in all our family gathering he will advise us to pray for the President, the government and the entire Gambia people. He really love all and habour no hatred for anybody, someone may hate him but whenever their needs come to his doorstep, he rendered his best help adequately. He had cordial receptions for the visitors and the strangers and he never turned them back.
In appreciation to his outstanding contribution to the development of his community, and the entire nation, he was awarded the medal of THE NATIONAL ORDER OF THe REPUBLIC OF GAMBIA-(R.G.M) on the 24th of April 2006.
The entire Demba Kunda and Tabally Kunda families really wanted him to stay but Allah who created him needed him most surely and He took him from them but with KALIMATUL SHAHADA. We accepted in good faith and thank you Allah and we pray for him to be in the blessed paradise. Just exactly 7:00am on Sunday 29th of April 2012, death smoothly and gently put an end to his life.
Author: Banfally Demba