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12.04.2005 Feature Article

Ghana’s Dogs of War.

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Frederick Forsyth's thriller - "Dogs of War" presents a clear example of invasion and savagery that can happen anywhere in the world. The Zangaro experience which Forsyth depicts, fits the general African situation. Recently, it was showcased in the small town of Adum-Banso, in the Mpohor Wassa-East district of Ghana.

The dogs are at war, and this is how they are used as "tools for oppression". Foremost, their sponsors go to a peaceful community, presenting themselves as friendly investors. Later, they become "Masters of the Land" and the demarcations begin, dictating to the people where to go, what they should plant in their farms, and how to answer questions from paid security guards who protect palm fruits and corporate interest.

This arrangement mirrors the uncomfortable, rather abusive marriage between Unilever's Banso Oil palm Plantation (BOPP), and the people of Adum-Banso.

Stories trickling in from Adum-Banso, reveal the emergence of Forsyth's analogy, spiced with this new bitter African flavor. That was a disgrace, especially in a democratic environment such as Ghana, to witness how Delta Security Company, a security firm, trained its employees to use wild dogs on suspects, adopting the old South-African law enforcement style . Apartheid era revisited.

This is an example of how these security guards act foolishly in Ghana. On March 17,2005, Kojo Lokko, a farmer who is also one of the oil palm out growers at Adum-Banso was returning from his farm with palm fruits when Delta Security guards who claimed he had stolen them from the Unilever-owned Banso Oil Palm Plantation arrested him. Thereafter, the guards started kicking Lokko for stealing, after which they called for additional six security guards with three wild dogs. Upon arrival, the guards then set the wild dogs on Lokko leading to serious multiple injuries.

A medical bill of 3 million cedis (approximately $333) now hangs on the neck of Lokko's family.In the United States, many people ask for a payment plan when they receive a medical bill of $333, and I am not unsettled by Lokko's assertion that he cannot pay this bill due to his meager income.

The madness unfolding at Adum-Banso is not an isolated incident. Kojo Lokko is lucky to be alive. In the early part of 1980, Bowaah Quayson was returning from a family farm with a load of palm fruits when he was shot eleven times, brutally murdered by BOPP security guards.

BOPP management did not apologize to Quayson's family, neither did they receive a compensation for this wrongful death.

In the case of Kojo Lokko, I am glad Sandy Mensah, the former Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology land expert, has emerged as a "strong voice", condemning these acts of barbarism, and is in the process of instituting legal action against BOPP and Delta Security for supervising this sublime package of corporate nonsense .

As Ghanaians, are we living in a failed state, in which there are no laws and order? Are we under military or civilian rule? Are we living in a democratic environment only in name? Are the politicians just interested in touting their achievements, and those from the "Wahala" camp just interested in fuel prices and demonstrations? This madness must stop.

My good old friend Anthony Evans Amoah, member of parliament for Mpohor Wassa-East, the Western Regional Minister, Inspector General of Police, and the Interior Ministry, should wake up to the call, investigate and punish those found guilty of these disrespectful acts.

Regrettably, the people of Adum-Banso have been oppressed , submitting to compliance, having to accept brutality and instant death as an alternative to survival with no protection from officialdom.

The government must act swiftly on these disgraceful matters arising in Ghana, the reminder being that the people are simply not willing to live with questions. Questions leave them vulnerable, weak, and oppressed.

Their fear is that these wild dogs and their masters are still around, and can unleash the "attackers" as needed to sustain that ill-gotten wealth.

Whither are we drifting?

-Author, former associate at the features desk, Daily Graphic, Accra,Ghana. He now lives in Evans, Georgia. Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Ato Aidoo
Ato Aidoo, © 2005

The author has 31 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: AtoAidoo

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