THE NATIONAL Democratic Congress (NDC) Minority in Parliament has expressed vehement opposition to the release of lands in Kumasi to the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II.
It would be recalled that allegations emerged in the media recently that some parcels of land in Kumasi have been released to the Golden Stool by the Akufo-Addo government.
Sources in government indicate the processes leading to this release of lands predate the Akufo-Addo administration, with the Cabinet of President Mahama giving approval for this release.
Lands belonging to the Golden Stool were seized in the first half of the nineteenth (19th) century without the payment of compensation whatsoever.
All governments in the Fourth Republic worked on the process of releasing lands in Kumasi to the Golden Stool in lieu of compensation.
In a rather strange and dramatic U-turn, however, the Minority Ranking Member for Lands and Forestry on Friday, June 3, 2022, held a press conference to express the opposition of the NDC Minority to the release of such lands to the Asantehene.
Following the release, the Minority has summoned the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources to appear before Parliament to answer questions on why these lands have been released to the Asantehene.
The Ranking Member, Rashid Pelpuo, stated that the Minority members on the Lands Committee are extremely concerned about state lands being released to private persons, and the fact that authorities in charge of government lands are not demonstrating accountability in the usage of these lands.
He said, “We are all aware of the Achimota Forest land issue. Whilst we are still thinking about it, other issues are coming up about our lands again in Kumasi and other regional capitals. These concerns have gotten to the point that we think we need to talk about them, and we need to investigate them.
“We need to get the minister to respond to issues that we are bringing up. We have already signaled to the minister to come before the membership of the Committee of Lands and Forestry to explain the circumstances under which government is finding it compelling to give out lands that were acquired years ago.
“We hope that the minister is coming along with the Forestry and Land Commissions, so they can respond to issues and questions that we have for them,” he stated.
Ghanaians, he said, are very anxious to know exactly how the government is preserving state lands, especially those that are under reserves, and how eventually these lands will be used effectively to develop the state.
The Minority, Mr. Pelpuo added, wants to ensure the Ghanaian public is aware nothing is going to be given out, and that state lands will be protected.
Five years of the Akufo-Addo government, he stressed, should not be a forum to take over lands that belong to the country and dispense them without responsibility.
“They have to answer for that and they have to make sure they stop giving out lands owned by the state. We want to make sure the right things are done,” he added.