Land Ownership Conundrum


The challenge of land administration in the country is common knowledge not so the solution or the will to tackle the problem decisively.

Little wonder the subject has continued to be with us and now assuming a feature of land acquisition, especially in Accra.

Double or triple sales of land and issues of landguards have sometimes led to fatal clashes.

Land is perhaps the only item which creates sleeplessness for the buyer in Accra. Multiple sale of land has cast a negative image of some chiefs who are fueling the avoidable trend.

The Ghana Institution of Surveyors (GhIS) forum provided for the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Joseph Boahen Aidoo, a rare opportunity to dissect as it were the conundrum of land administration. What better group of professionals to talk to about the subject than the gathering of the leadership of the survey profession.

Making relevant reference to the absence of register of lands as one of the causative factors for the challenges for land ownership rights, he opened a segment of the larger challenge of land administration which has for long been taken for granted.

He scratched the parts of the body of victims of the land conundrum where it itches as he delved into the subject head-on.

The clandestine and criminal changing of land ownership documents at the registry level by unscrupulous public servants is common knowledge, for which occasional exposures have been recorded. The poor who constitute the most vulnerable when land ownership comes up suffer the most under the circumstances. The rich are able to bully them into losing their lands because of the inherent loopholes referred to by the guest speaker.

Although Mr. Aidoo called for a paradigm shift in land administration in the country by surveyors, we wonder how these professionals alone can lead the charge alone and without the total involvement of the executive.

Litigation over land is a lucrative venture for professionals in related fields such as law, judicial administration, policing and surveying. As for the poor, they are unable to cope and so soon fizzle out in the face of the financially mighty, as they are dispossessed of their lands.

Justice cannot be said to be prevalent in societies where the rich would always have their ways and the poor the underdogs and helpless, especially in the sophisticated webs of land administration.

Some land cases have gone on for decades, their end not in sight anytime soon as original litigants pass on and passing on the mantle to their offspring.

Where oral testimonies in the absence of properly documents ownership evidence prevail, we are bound to live with features of landguardism and painful litigation as Mr. Aidoo pointed out.

The executives, the judiciary and the GhIS including related bodies should fashion out ways of obviating the challenges of land administration in the country.

The GhIS and the COCOBOD Chief have all indirectly started a national conversation which must be sustained so we can tackle the conundrum of land administration in the country.