Stop cheating in land acquisition!!!
On Tuesday, the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, expressed grave concern about the impunity with which some of his traditional leaders have involved themselves in double sale of lands and others forcibly snatching lands from their owners over expired lease.
Otumfuo’s worry is legitimate because according to him, he is being accused wrongly for what he terms unlawful activities in the region.
He said, “You people are disgracing me, you all need to be careful with the things you are doing. You are making me lose my trust among you all…, your illegal activities are a disgrace to the respected chieftaincy institution and me, as the Asantehene.”
Everyone who carefully reads these lines and ponders over them would share the concerns raised by the Asantehene but must realise that the revered traditional leader is more worried about the people being cheated in land acquisition in the country.
Land for private development has become very important in this country because we live in a country where majority of the people have to manage to acquire houses for themselves and dependents.
Any attempt by the State to provide housing benefits only state officials, particularly politicians, and their cohorts to the neglect of the people the government claims to be building for.
Affordable housing means entirely a different concept in this country from what obviously should be the norm.
Unfortunately, land owners, particularly chiefs and family heads, are cashing in on the difficult situation to cheat those who approach them for land.
This is a national canker that must be tackled with law to stop it.
We think the Asantehene is being magnanimous by employing the expression “double sale of land” because it is ‘multi-sale” in Accra, Kasoa and elsewhere and in all these, only the strongest by way of state power, riches or connection to state authority or power gets the land.
Most people caught up in such unsuspected nefarious land dealings have lost fortunes because at a point they realise they are powerless and helpless and give in.
Sometimes even some public and private organisations too are ‘strangled’.
In the face of all the evil deeds in the land-acquisition sector of the country, sometimes powered by corrupt state land administration officials like those working with the Lands Commission, we recommend the Asantehene for broaching a national conversation.
We think the perpetrators of such evil deeds have been left off the hook for far too long so they keep getting new entrants into their ‘cult’.
It is now time to punish them in spite of their status in society and this calls for multi-prong but collective approach to handle the situation, albeit within the remit of the country’s laws.
For his part, the Asantehene has warned traditional leaders under him to stop cheating people with their authority over lands or face his wrath.
We know Otumfuo Osei Tutu to be a man of his word and would surely take erring traditional leaders under him to task.
We hope Ga chiefs in particular and those of places that have now become or are in the process of becoming urban or cosmopolitan must ponder over Asantehene’s warning.
We are concerned with what is happening in the Ga state because it is a sorry affair as land guards even go to the extent of harming people whose only crime is their attempt to acquire a land to put up a house.