For not only neglecting, but also failing to protect the interests of the people of La and Ga-Dangme, a group calling itself the Coalition of La Youth (COLA) has waged war on the Mahama-led administration, drumming a loud message into the ears of its members to disband their association with the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
At a massively-attended press conference in Accra yesterday, the group maintained that “a government that does not listen to its people is not worth following,” a statement which pulled shouts of agreement from the gathering.
The Spokesperson, Nii Okpomansah I, having accused the government of refusing to invoke Article 20 (6) of the 1992 Constitution over unused state lands earlier snatched from them and were taken over by private developers, issued a week’s ultimatum to it to act on the matter.
Quoting the said constitutional provision “…lands acquired in the interest of the state for a specific project should revert back to their allodia owners when the project changes or government is no longer interested,” he indicated their preparedness to invoke the last lines of the National Anthem – ‘help us to resist oppressors rule’ – if the government failed to hand over to them those parcels of land – 350 acres across the Greater Accra Region.
By their actions, Nii Okpomansah I was convinced the government and its apparatchiks were bent on destroying the culture of Ga lands, and quickly laid claim to a sociological postulation that “any nation, race, community or society may lose their language and their very existence, and this is exactly what government is perpetuating on our land.”
Leaning on history, COLA revealed that during the New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration under President John Agyekum Kufuor, their people witnessed a litany of unjust treatments, coupled with reported cases of land grabbing.
That situation, he said, was a contributory factor to the electoral victory of the then opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) in 2008, since the party promised to re-distribute those lands to their rightful owners.
“The new NDC government, led by Prof. John Evans Atta-Mills, initiated action on the issue, resulting in not only the redistribution of lands to their allodia owners, but recognising and appointing quite a number of our Ga-Dangme compatriots, thus restoring the dignity and fortunes of the Ga-Dangme people,” the group posited.
When President John Dramani Mahama took over after the death of President Mills, the Ga people expected his government to continue with the latter’s supposed good works, only for that to appear as a delusion to them.
According to COLA: “The government was not only unable to sustain and consolidate, but has rather rolled back the gains made so far on this land issue,” alleging that “with the connivance of the Ghana Armed Forces, and the Lands Commission, Ga-Dangme lands have been plundered in an unprecedented manner.”
The group asked rhetorically: “Is the government not aware that the Ghana Armed Forces has arbitrarily destroyed farmlands without compensation to the affected, and the outright stealing of our lands under the guise of buffer zone creation?”
The coalition was also surprised that the Armed Forces defied the advice of the Attorney General to cease its illegal activities until the necessary acquisition processes had been consummated and compensation agreed upon, and had extended its activities to an area which had never been in dispute.
COLA further alleged that the government was contemplating the sale of the Ghana International Trade Fair, beseeching it, however, to abort the idea until all issues relating to the compensation of its acquisition had been trashed out.
“Another shocking revelation is where a Regional Minister, entrusted with the coordination, peace and tranquillity and development of the region, rather commissions land guards to terrorise the people of Amrahia and Ashie, and to the extent of dispossessing them of their land,” the Spokesperson announced.
The land issue aside, the people of La and Ga-Dangme, as pointed out by Nii Okpomansah I, claim to have been marginalised, “especially, in the areas of appointments, job placements,” which they argued was no secret.