Manhyia is wrong. Omanhene of Asokore is wrong. Asokorehene is wrong. Nana Susubribi Krobea Asante is wrong. Who are they kidding/fooling? Ghana News Agency reported a story in its February 17, 2004 issue on "Good Governance - Tool for Ensuring Sound Land Administration Practices in Ghana." On the surface, you could see that all speakers at the opening of the five-day workshop made every effort to take shots at the despicable and irresponsible land management in our country. Mr. Justice I.R. Aboagye, Chairman of the Lands Commission, said that as public officers, the land administrators needed to perform their duties with diligence, honesty, and transparency. In fact, this call is millions of miles away from what we see today. Then again, such calls have been made millions of times for the last 30 years from dubious chiefs to corrupt politicians.
Mr. Aboagye must be the first to admit that the messy state of affairs is the result of a lack of leadership and outright incompetence of various governments' appointees to his office as well as other land management supporting or leading agencies. Honestly, Mr. Justice Aboagye used all the socially or politically correct vocabulary and jargon. For example, he said, "The land administration system in the country was bedeviled with numerous setbacks culminating in conflicting claims to ownership of land, insecurity of land title and encroachment on public lands.” "Again, there is lack of well-structured, reliable, accessible, and up-to-date records on the various lands in the country,” he added. “This is a far deviation from the cardinal principles of land administration, which required accurate recording and dissemination of information regarding ownership, value and use."
The question I have for Mr. Justice I. R. Aboagye is very simple. With all his professional and intellectual experiences, what does he think is new about what he said? Was it the first time anyone has told the congregated people drawn from Administrators of Stool Lands, Land Title Registry, the Survey Department, the Department of Town and Country Planning, the Lands Commission Secretariat, Regional Lands offices, and traditional rulers that their ambition stinks, or should I say that the performance of their offices stinks like hell? Other speakers, including Madam Theresa Naa Ameley Tagoe, Deputy Minister of Lands and Forestry, said land had an immeasurable spiritual and material significance for Ghanaians.
With the typical NPP minister characteristic of going through the motions for the sake of being a Minister of State, Madam Tagoe said, "It is the source of our socio-economic sustenance, gives us our unique cultural identity, and our oneness as a nation is embedded in land."
For wealth creation, she said, land was the nation's basic and greatest asset; consequently, its sustainable management through good administrative practices was therefore of utmost priority to the government.
The Deputy Minister said though the government was committed to the pursuit of good governance, it cannot be achieved on a silver platter. He told the participants that as managers of this precious resource, their contribution was “indispensable."
What is new about the problems of land administration? We need people who will speak solutions, not re-echo the problems.
REPEATING THE UNHOLY STORY – Nana Krobea Asante's Plead
Let us look at what is wrong with the organizers' and speakers' mental model on this occasion before I jump on Nana Krobea Asante's deceptive pleading with government on behalf of the rotten chiefs and odikros of Asante and other parts of Ghana.
From the speakers’ point of view:
· None of the attendees knew that there is a problem in land administration and therefore must be told again.
· Solutions to the problems reside with the very group of people who are benefiting big time from the corruption and convoluted procedure to secure and develop the land of our fathers to improve the lives of our people.
· Those who are charged with the leadership position to improve efficiency and delivery of services to the mass are straight out incompetent and worthless.
Before anyone holds up for the directors, principal secretaries, managers, land commissioners, and the staff of the agencies listed above, please tell the Ghanaians: what have these people in responsible positions done for the last 30 years to advance and improve their service to people of Ghana? What initiatives have any of these directors taken to change the ways things are being done now, which is to the detriment of the whole nation?
I will indulge reader diligence to deduce the substance from Asokore Omanhene's royal wisdom for the Land Administration faithful.
· Land Administration sections of the civil service are the most inefficient and unproductive undertakings in the public sector and are therefore useless. I can swallow that with ease.
· State agencies should desist from depriving stools as landowners of their legitimate revenue. Wow! I will say “wow” again. The money power "dey" talks. Here, too, I would like Nana Krobea Asante to educate the whole country as to if the chiefs and traditional leaders hold the land and other resources in the land in the trust of the people, or if the land resources are the bona fide properties of the chiefs and anti-development agents.
· The state agencies must not put stifling controls over chiefs and their bona fide properties because the deprivation of stool resources diminishes the capacity of chiefs to deliver the social and economic services expected of them. This is where the shit hits the fan and the rubber meets the road.
I will take on Asokore Omanhene Nana Susubribi Krobea Asante on the last statement above here in this piece and hope that sooner--not later--he will invite me for a debate or dialogue on national radio, television, or any of Ashanti Region's local FM radio stations. SOURCES OF POVERTY The arrogance, boldness, and confidence with which some of these chiefs speak or boast about their land (and therefore anything that comes out of it) to serve the taste, comfort, and interests of a selected few, even if the whole nation should go to hell. There is overwhelming evidence documented and otherwise that any revenue from the land, be it the royalties or sales or lease of land for development, must go to support the self-centered chiefs' new-found European lifestyle. These selected chiefs have commandeered all of the natural resources of their people to educate only their children and marry multiples of women to the detriment of millions of Asantes or Gas or Guans in the modern day Ghana. You are ultimately creating poverty among the populace if you kick the land dwellers out of the land and refuse to invest the revenue of the land sales in the people.
It is sad to even remember that these are the only privileged group of people in Africa or Ghana that the masses have protected, worshiped, served, and in too many cases, died for ever since people started living in communities like villages, towns, and finally states, kingdoms, and then nations. Why should this privileged group insist on walking on the destitute and poor in their own villages and towns? The poverty, diseases, hopelessness, ignorance, crime and violence, and illiteracy in Ashanti Region and elsewhere in Ghana are the results of inhumane treatment and neglect of the people by the so-called traditional leaders. The outcome of the wicked greed of these chiefs and odikros is the homelessness and shorter life expectancy of the people in Ghana. These people have constituted themselves to be the enemies of their own people. THE TRICKS AND PLOYS In all attempts to steal from their own people, this dubious group of people has instituted schemes to serve themselves and their interests. In some towns and villages, these chiefs and Odikros have built in another layer of insulation by assigning people like town unit committee members to demarcate and allocate plots of land for private development.
The revenue collected are strictly channeled to the pockets of these chiefs without any laid down formulae or mechanism to use some of these monies to renovate the 40-year-old Kwame Nkrumah-built local school. In bigger and richer communities, these chiefs have cleverly scratched the bottom of billions of cedis paid to them in royalties to give a few children what they sanctimoniously call the Traditional Council Scholarships. Dig further into it and you will find that almost all the scholarships go to groom another bunch of superhuman Ghanaians called Adehyie. The same chiefs and their agents will institute educational funds to support education only to rely on begging around the world to fund the scheme. Sadly, trillions of cedis and billions of dollars are revenue from the sale of lands in their jurisdictions and pocketed by few people to support their lifestyles. What prevents them from using the natural resources to fund such noble schemes and provide facilities to train the youth beats common sense! Maybe social commentators like IK Gyasi could explain to us why such calamities occur in and around Kumasi.
In urban and metropolitan cities and the surrounding villages, these chiefs and sub-chiefs have put on coat and tie and turned into land developers overnight. The chiefs will develop the land, all right—land that the forefathers of all the people in the village died to protect—but only to feed their egos and tastes alone. Interestingly, we are yet to hear or read of such developers turned developer who have built any facilities, educational or health, for the people. The revenue goes to the chiefs and their yes-men's pockets.
The more sophisticated chiefs have perfected the art of deception to the level that they both hire macho men as enforcers and women as country music singing bands (Ndwom-too). All these are ways to divert attention from the ill-gotten wealth at the expense of the people in their families, villages, and towns. DEFENSIVE MECHANISM From our humble birth to our full-grown estates, the chiefs and their sub chiefs have devised mechanisms and manipulations to keep the people poor and ignorant. It is on the basis of the irresponsible tactics that Asante Region or Ghana is douched with numerous chieftaincy and land disputes. The kicker is all these legations are basically driven by appetite, and winners talk all attitudes. Other beneficiaries are the unscrupulous lawyers and legal aid staff that owe their European lifestyles to these dubious chiefs and their machinations. In the end it is the masses of the villages or towns that are deprived of their farming lands and the ability to feed their families.
The chiefs and their subchiefs together with their lawyers sing alleluia to the bank. The chief immediately kicks out all those who make a living on the land and auction the plots to pay off their legal fees and adopt new expensive tastes. You can imagine that too many of these chiefs have accomplished any desire in their personal or private lives but find themselves being worshipped along with the flowing cash. In their wake, destitute population, homelessness, poverty, and crime are left. Our young men and women parade through our streets without jobs, skilled trades, or education. Chiefs, subchiefs, and their children have no worries of where their next meals will come from and are destined to attend American colleges.
The question that beats my understanding is why have these chiefs and odikros been successful year after year squandering the futures of generations upon generations without anyone from the government, religious bodies, academics, business community, news media, and others challenging these inhumane actions of the selected few? The excuse given by the chiefs to convince themselves that they are the only people on earth who should benefit from the resources of the land is this: "His forefathers acquired the land, defeated and drove away some inhabitants, or the land was a reward for their family bravery in some tribal wars."
It must be made clearly and concisely known once and for all to these chiefs and their agents that many non-royals fought along side with them and died with them and for them. It therefore becomes a crime against humanity for the any chief to ignore the masses and walk on them using the community resources.
Let us all now examine specific landmarks from our history in rebuttal to the above statements. (1) INVASION OF KUMASI BY SEFWIS Written and oral history tells how the Sefwis invaded Kumasi while the Asante Army was in a battlefield against another group. History has it that Bantamahene and his army was detailed to track down the Sefwis and punish them. The result was the vast land of what we now call Ahafo coming under the Asante Kingdom. It is on record that Bantamahene still collects royalties from natural resources such as timber concessions paid by the central government. Reading or listening to the oral tradition on the above subject, you could not help but to ask who constituted Bantamahene’s army. Therefore, Bantamahene and his royals did not engage the Sefwis alone, but the community fought side by side with Bantamahene and his royals. Why, therefore, should Bantamahene as the overlord of the Ahafo and many other areas squander the revenues coming from the booty of wars that your uncles, brothers, fathers, and my community together annexed?
Why shouldn’t a sizeable amount of the royalties go to support the elementary school education of the people of Goaso or Hwidiem? While you ponder that, think of the number of students in resourced, rich Ahafo that make it in the mainstream as engineers, lawyers, administrators, medical doctors, and professors relative to the number of children that completed the JSS in each given year. (2) PRECEDENTS HAVE BEEN SET Across from the University College of Winneba, Abuakwa in Ashanti region campus and adjacent to Yaa Asantewaa SSS is a stretch of land that was used by the Ministry of Agriculture's Crop and Soil Research Department for piloting new disease-resistant and improved crops. The surrounding villages’ chiefs, sub-chiefs, overlords, and Omanhene fought the P/NDC government to release the land to them through auction and use the revenue to support their European lifestyles. NDC government refused to release the land to crocodile open-mouthed waiting chiefs and their agents but did not legislate it to protect the children of these villages from these self-centered chiefs. Fortunately for the chiefs and detrimental to a whole generation of children from this area, it took less than 30 days upon assumption of power for Kuffour's NPP government and the regional minister to open the floodgates for these chiefs to sell off the land. Let us look at the harm done to the children of this impoverished part of Ashanti Region.
· It is an established fact that less than one percent of the children from Kumasi Abuakwa area receive secondary or high school education. This is very visible in the area considering the number of young girls and boys trooping to Kumasi each morning to sell water and roasted plantain.
· The NPP government released the land to the "custodian of the land" without considering the faith of several thousands of the area's children growing in destitution and without hope. It stands to reason that because of the location and the need to use the resources to human development, the government should have put in place a mechanism to protect the people. Your guess is as good as mine; the land was parceled out and auctioned within two months of its release. Not a single village or town or a school child benefited a pessewa from such prime real estate. The dubious chiefs connected to this estate became instant millionaires at the expense of the people.
· In real estate there is a slogan: Location, location, location, and location. Considering the fact that there is a University of Education directly across from this land, common sense could have dictated to President Kuffour's team, the traditional council, and their chiefs to consider other uses of the land to enhance the quality of education in that part of the region. Honestly, I do not think the Regional Minister SK Boafo, having made fortunes in representing Stool Lands, could have the moral uprightness and brainpower to think about the future of the children in this area. No one needed to remind Manhyia and NPP government to save this land for educational development to cash in on the human and physical logistics across the road. The cluster of schools around Wesley College, another educational institution in Kumasi, should have been enough for the "donkomi" chiefs to re-think not just about themselves. More sophisticated lines of action could have been designed to reserve this prime land for private school developers.
· Let us turn our attention to Pankronu, Ahwiah, Nyankyereniase, Aburaso, Kwamo, Kwapra, and other suburbs of Kumasi. A few years ago, this land was supporting families and the whole society. Many people made their living on this land by cultivating cassava and vegetables. Then came time when this land became gold mines for the greedy chiefs. In a way it was enforcement of mass poverty on the necks of the people. Many of the cassava farmers were kicked out of the land, and the land was sold for residential developments. I personally do not see any thing wrong with that. My problem is that instead of the revenue being channeled to improve educational and vocational training for the people, the chiefs did just the opposite. The chiefs did not care about the people and in many cases did not care about the future of the chieftaincy institution. Not only did they refuse to share the booty with their people, some of these chiefs refused to build or rehabilitate the palaces and chief's residence. Instead, they moved away from the people to enjoy their ill-gotten wealth.
· Other chiefs without physical village domains like the chief of Ntaamu near Pankronu had a field day of becoming rich overnight against the backdrop of his failed personal life as an individual. Not a single pessewa of the billions of cedis collected by Ntaamuhene Kwame Abumu Appiah went to support community projects in Ahwiah or Pankronu where the indigenes of Ntaamu migrated over 50 years ago. Like Ntaamu, many of the chiefs have not bothered to explain where the revenue from the land went since they do not hold court, adjudicate cases, or perform the other traditional responsibilities of a chief. You see, these crops of people have no responsibilities to the people, and yet they have the power to make them poorer.
ASKOREHENE AND THE LAND ADMINISTRATION Let us give it to Nana Krobea Asante--the civil service department of Land Administration stinks! There is no doubt about that. From the above few examples, can Asokorehene in all honesty tell us that the traditional council of chiefs could have done better than the rotten civil employees? Who does Nana Krobea Asante think he is kidding? Has Nana forgotten that irresponsible chiefs who will do anything to take advantage of the land developers are the sole cause of the stench at the Land Administration offices? Maybe we should remind Nana Krobea Asante that no civil service employee has the power to sell one plot to five different people. It may take Nana some time to remember that many of the colonial government and post-independent land-zoned public facilities have been re-zoned by dubious chiefs for their own benefit. Nana should be the first person to admit that it is the chiefs and their agents who have corrupted the Land Administration process and officials.
ASOKOREHENE IS WRONG It is not hard to see through the mechanisms and manipulations going on in Ghana today. Why should anyone in his God-given wisdom advocate that the chiefs should be given free hand to manage the resources of the people? At least not in my Ashanti region, when several generations of people have been forced into poverty by their chiefs. It was very insincere for Nana Asokorehene to say that the chiefs will use the revenue from the land resources to support social development of the people. Nana should have been bold enough to tell us that the government and civil service were to keep their nose out of natural resources management because the chiefs wanted to auction them off and live like American aristocrats. I could have swallowed the latter better than the trickery and hypocrisy of the chiefs in Ghana as verbalized by Nana Krobea Asante.
Maybe Nana Krobea Asante could point to an educational or vocational institution built with the revenues from plot sales or leased for the last 30 years to serve the people of the community. While a few chiefs are spending their own hard earned financial resources to improve the lots of the people in their communities, too many chiefs are killing the aspirations and hopes of the people. A case in point is when a chief in Atwima Achiease used his own pocket money to pay the school fees of the children in his village to encourage them to seek education. Compare the value of a piece of land in Achiease to that of Kronum or Breman. This will tell you those chiefs in the areas like Suame, Emaakro, Kronum, Brema, and all the way to Nkwanta Kessie are reaping several millions of dollars from land sales each year. Unfortunately, these place villages are the castles of poverty in Kumasi. Is Nana Asokorehene asking the government to turn over the land administration to his colleagues to amass wealth at the expense of the entire future generation? WHO SPEAKS FOR THE PEOPLE? No one will want to stand up for the several millions of Ghanaian youth who otherwise would have made a living on the land but have been thrown onto the streets of Kumasi without hope. From Bishop Akwasi Sarpongs to the Abomsem Priestess, from IK Gyasis to the village social activist, from President Kuffours to the Assemblymen, from Lawyer Kwasi Afrifa to public notary at the Kumasi Central Post Office, from journalist to roadside artist, and from the garden boy to cocoa plantation owners, no one is willing to stand up for the future generation. The less said about the self-glorifying politicians like SK Boafo, the Regional Minister to Assemblymen from Dakwadwomu, the better.
None of the numerous non-governmental associations and social groupings has taken any critical role to see to the welfare of the poor and destitute in our communities. The various associations and unions in Ghana and Diaspora are literally in cahoots with the chiefs and politicians to inflict poverty on the people. The various Asantefoohene in Diaspora, especially those in North America and Europe, have lived up to their "kakamotobi's Monk" name.
From the Yukon in Canada to Maine in Florida, these self-styled community leaders have buried their heads in the sand instead of mapping out ways and means to redeem the future generations of Ghanaians doused in poverty. These Asantefoohene refused to even discuss land management during their 2003 congress because it would put them in head-on collision with the chiefs in Ghana. No wonder their unions and associations are besotted with allegations of adulteries, fornications, and embezzlements.
Shame on the so-called elites and educated lawyers, engineers, doctors, accountants, journalists, and other professionals in Ashanti region and in Ghana for their refusal to stand up against the greedy chiefs on behalf of the children, women, disabled, and old people in their communities. These groups are guilty, and the posterity must not forgive them for sitting unconcerned for the future of the kingdom and country being squandered by a few chiefs and their agents. It is said; those that society has given the most, must give back most to the society. Can all those Dr. Ohenebas of Komfo Anokye Hospital, Dr. Kofi Ellisons. IK Gyasis, PV Obengs, Dr. Agyeman-Yeboahs, Agyeman-Duahs, and all other honestly say that they on using all their skills to redeem the poverty stricken people of Ghana from the economic murderous chiefs and their agents?
THE BURDEN OF POVERTY ON GHANAIAN CHILDREN GIMMICKS AND THE POWER TO THE CHIEFS Many of us are not against the return of the Kumasi Part One Lands back to the chiefs of Kumasi and, for that matter, Manhyia by the Kuffour government or any other government. The problem lies with the argument being used to secure the lands. Let us delve into sections of Asante King's speech during the visit of Professor Forbih to Manhyia as reported by Ghana Chronicles (Sebastian R. Freiku, Manhyia Palace, Kumasi, Monday, March 29, 2004).
“The continued control of the said lands by the government has deprived the legitimate owners of huge revenue, and we cannot countenance any further losses at the expense of development,” the Asantehene complained. He called on the government to consider the return of the said lands to the owners, to ensure their effective administration and proper development of his province". With all the due respect to my King, Nana, are you sincerely sure that the chiefs of Kumasi could manage the lands better that than our disgraceful civil service workers? One thing I can tell the world boldly is that the chiefs will manage the land better for themselves and to support their greedy lifestyles. I do not have to justify this statement in any way since numerous examples are all over in your kingdom. No one teaches the children about God, and our nightly sleeping experiences are as sane as death itself.
From Kwapra to Kwawoma, Fawode to Fomasoa, and Atwima Koforudua to Atonsu, could anyone point to any development that the chiefs and their agents have done for the people using the revenue from land management? For sure, you can point to too many destitute men. You have had their fortunes turned over immediately after they ascended to a stool or to a skin. Many people who have not accomplished anything in their lifetime in a split second assumed a European taste and lifestyle at the expense of the people who fought and defended the land. In this way the Kumasi chiefs have ignorantly and insensitively created poverty and hopeless among the population of Ghana.
The history of Land Administration up to 1960 may be on your side, but the history of common sense, responsibility, and land management for the last 20 years are stacked against Manhyia and other chiefs in the region. Manhyia (and for that matter, no chief in Kumasi) cannot point to a library, school building, skilled trade workshop, computer laboratory, teacher bungalow, or public place of conveniences that has been built using the revenues from the sales or lease of Kumasi Lands. I challenge Pankronu, Kwapra, Asokore Manpong, Atonsu, Abuakwa, Kwadaso, Owhimmasi, Nyankyereniasi, and any Kumasi chief to account for the revenue from land sales for the last 25 years and tell us who benefited from the money and where the money went. If you drive in early morning and late evening from Abuakwa to Kumasi through Kwadaso or from Offinso through Kwapra and Maakoro, you can see the gravity of poverty created by these chiefs who want more land to squander to support their selfish vanities at the expense of their own people. It is painful to see our youth being forced to take on trades and skills that will not help them to contribute to our society or their own life. In some cases, our children have taken to criminal activities and prostitution instead of becoming professionals like educators, lawyers, medical officers, accountants, business executives, and others. "Otumfuo Osei Tutu called also for a revision of the allocation of 55% of ground rent (royalties) to District Assemblies. ‘These rents should go to traditional authorities for their development and needs instead of District Assemblies who do not effect any significant development in their areas with these funds,’ he noted."
This statement does not need a response. It is on record and verifiable that the District Assemblies built school buildings, roads, and places of convenience; they rehabilitated and built computer laboratories; and they provided both public and school libraries. Compare that to the Kumasi Traditional Council or Kwaprahene and his agents. The District Assemblies through government support to augment their tax revenues provide local school with desks and chairs. For what it is worth, the District Assemblies have not performed with the alacrity and perfection we all had hoped, but their contribution to the development of society through both human and infrastructure are unquestionable; yet this is far better than the corrupt and self-centered chiefs of Kumasi and Asante Kingdom.
We have concrete examples to educate the chiefs and the apologists. The greedy chiefs have done more harm than good to the people of Ashanti Region. If they have problems hearing the truth, then they must answer one simple question before they make an attempt to write a rejoinder to this piece: what happened to revenue from the sales of parcel of land opposite the Kumasi Abuakwa Campus of the University of Winneba? I refer to the Ministry of Agriculture land that President Kuffour, through the regional minister, returned to the "rightful owners." Who is/are the "rightful owners” of the land? I know for sure it is the people and villages in the area, which has been entrusted in the hands of the chiefs. What percentage of the billions of cedis and millions of American dollars that were collected from the sale of the land went to support any school in the area? You can see the JSS graduates from the same area walking and carrying "bofroto" to sell in Kumasi. Can all those who partook in the squandering of the revenue be happy with the state of the youth in the Abuakwa and Tanoso area of Asante Kingdom? Listen to news from Adansi (Ghanaian Chronicle, March 29th, 2004): "’We want to state in plain language that not until he renders an account, Sanso community will not recognize him as chief and that anybody or group of persons or any corporate body that transacts business with him on behalf of Sanso community do so at their own risk.’ The Sansohene, The Chronicle gathered, is outside the country. However, the complaint against the Sansohene also alleged that he pocketed million of cedis paid as compensation by AGC on palm trees destroyed on farmlands acquired for surface mining. ‘It is quite clear that Nana Afiamoah Kotoku I is not interested in leading Sanso to develop, but only interested in enriching himself at the expense of the community,’ they said.” Is Manhyia serious about the use of natural resources to develop infrastructure both in facilities and people? I have my doubts. What Manhyia should and must be doing is fashion an operational system and formula that will allow all Asantes to benefit from the revenue from land sale, land lease, and royalties in the form of using the money to provide facilities and support education. As it stands now, our chiefs have irresponsibly failed, cheated, abused, stole, and dehumanized the people of Asantes. All documents including the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana and records for the negotiation of Ghana’s independence from Britain available indicate that the chiefs are only "CUSTODIANS OF THE LAND AND THE INTRUST OF THE PEOPLE." It will be suicidal and damning if Kuffour's government returns any piece of land to any chief without putting in place measures, legislatures, and mechanisms to protect people in that community. It is very difficulty to defend our civil service in the face of overwhelming incompetence and corruption; however, the chiefs as demonstrated all over Asanteman are by far incapable and unable to honestly manage anything "in-trust of the people."
The solution to land management does not lie in task forces and blue ribbon committees and commissions. There have been several thousands of such fruitless exercises since 1900. None of them have been able to suggest a mechanism to protect the people from the greedy, selfish, and self-centered chiefs as well as corrupt civil workers. In many cases these task forces are selected and designed to appease powerful chiefs and their agents. Worst of all, the government (whether it is a democratically-elected or gun-toting soldiers) has no clue what it wants; therefore, the same old nonsense is reproduced at the expense of the country’s budget. The solution is not far-fetched, only no one is willing to stand and fight for our vulnerable youth, illiterate poor, and old people. Sadly, the so-called educated elites have joined in the booty-grabbing exercise at the expense of the poor people. Many people including the current Asante Regional Minister have made fortunes in land litigation and representing stool lands. Mr. SA Boafo cannot point to any stool land he represented that channeled any of the royalties and other revenue from land sales to support the local elementary school or JSS. Many Kumasi and Asante lawyers, surveyors, magistrates, judges, and land civil service have teamed up with the chiefs and ganged up on the people to process street kids, uneducated population, unskilled labor, dog-chain sellers, water drawers, and other menial jobholders. As a result of insensitiveness of the elite group, Ashanti region is producing a destitute generation of people.
It is absolutely shaming that the so-called educated people of the region sit unconcerned that the chiefs and agents milk the people to the bone. The commission or committee appointed by President Kuffour should not waste the people’s money to produce the litany of problems in the land administration that we know about. The solution is right at their noses and the nose of President Kuffour: Let us listen to the IGP’s advice to the GA Chiefs on April 05, 2004: "Nana Owusu-Nsiah, who is also the Mawerehene of the Berekum Traditional Area in the Brong Ahafo Region, said the security was very firm on the ground but needed the support of the chiefs to make it foolproof. The IGP expressed concern over the numerous chieftaincy disputes in the Region and asked the chiefs to endeavor to settle some of these issues amicably instead of resorting to the law courts, and the huge legal fees involved.” "I am a lawyer but monies used in chieftaincy disputes could best be used to support our children."
The common sense solution is taking the money that these greedy chiefs hope to amass from land sales and royalties and direct it to the development of the community and its children. It has been alleged that a couple of years ago, a Bantama Stool in Kumasi candidate or contestant purposely told a loan shark operator that he would pay off the loan to lobby for the Bantama Stool using the revenue of land sales. When pressed hard to point to which piece of land, the chief candidate is reported to have said that the land that currently housed the 4BN Military Barrack behind Komfo Anokye Hospital would be released the land back to the Bantamahene by Kuffour government. Being the prime land in Kumasi central area at the moment, the contestant hoped to mine gold dust out of the sale of the land. Whether true or not, this reveals the mindset of these corrupt citizens and why there are millions of land disputes and litigations scattered around the country.
The people of Ashanti Region and Greater Accra are getting the worst of daytime robbery by the chiefs. Slated to go back to the crocodile opened-mouth chiefs in Kumasi are the following: 1. Kumasi Part One Lands 2. 4BN Barrack (Bantama) 3. Vast land of the current Kumasi Airport including all the current and proposed runways. 4. Already sold and revenue squandered by dubious chiefs are Agriculture Ministry lands opposite University College of Winneba at Abuakwa near Kumasi and Agriculture Ministry Land at Kwadaso Agriculture College. The question that any able leader in Ashanti Region, from the Regional Minister to Pastors, Kumasi Youngsters Club, and all Asante Association to Assemblymen and women is very simple: Who benefited from the revenue that came out of these land sales or leases? Where is the money? The youth must demand to know. THE SOLUTION The solution is as follows: · Keep the power and the decision to lease or sell with the traditional authorities--that is, the chiefs.
· The authority to survey, demarcate, document, process, and sell or lease the land solely belongs to the District or Metropolitan assemblies using the zone laws and local ordinances.
· Take the profit out of the land sales and make education or health fund the ultimate benefactor of revenues from land sale or lease
· All revenue accrued from land sale is shared by people-friendly formula and must be paid to the stakeholder including local education and health fund, chief or traditional authority, and village development fund through banks of their choice.
· The Metropolitan or District Assemblies as well as the Ghana Government take their taxes and fees at the source. For the sake of space, I will not go much into the fabric of the solution. The above framework must be the basis for any meaningful land management in Ghana. If you examine it carefully, you will see that the above framework will do the following: 1. The chiefs maintain the "Land Custodial" duties.
2. More jobs like surveying and demarcation of land as well document-processing clerks will be created for the youth.
3. There will be no more multiple land sales of one piece of a plot.
4. The violence and bittern ess resulting from the actions and inactions of the dubious chiefs will stop.
5. Everyone benefit from the only resources left in our poor communities. The follow chart shows the key players in sensible administration of land in Ghana. You can see that selling one plot to ten people becomes impossible and distribution of revenues is done at the sources. Transfer on money at the bank level to the stakeholders in land administration will be based on universally agreed formula. The greedy and inhumane chiefs will get their share of the booty so also will the Village Development Committee to build a Science Laboratory for the local JSS. All players have a duty to the people of Ghana and the future generations.
Please direct comments to Emmanuel Kusi-Appiah
(734) 239 5632 - Phone
(734) 481 8633 - Fax