Wednesday, October 26, 2016

THE STATE OF CHILD LABOUR IN GHANA

INTRODUCTION:
Shocking statistics from the Ghana Statistical Service reveal that 1.9 million Ghanaian children between the ages of 5 and 17 are engaged in work that is harmful to their mental and physical development.
Large numbers of these children have been separated from their families and are engaged in perilous work such as transportation of heavy loads, drug trade, commercial sex exploitation, fishing, domestic services, and stone quarrying with many of them held in debt bondage in the capitals of the regions across the country.
The figures were disclosed at a media launch of the World Day Against Child Labour in Accra organized by the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations in partnership with the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the United Nations International Children Emergency Fund, the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) and other Civil Society Organisations.
Please read below the opinion of policy makers and child labour officers about the child labour crisis in Ghana.

Emmanuel Kwame Mensah
Emmanuel Kwame Mensah (Child Labour Officer)
“The issue about child labour has come out very prominently in the sustainable development goals launched by the United Nations as a fundamental concern with regard to economic growth and what must constitute decent work for countries across the world.
That Child labour was put under economic growth and decent work must tell everyone that the world recognizes that children engaged in inappropriate work affects productivity. In seeking solutions to the problem I find that we are spending time, trying to deal with youth employment, and that for me is an attempt to deal with a problem created either 20 or 30 years ago and that can be likened to cutting the branches of the tree and plucking the leaves.
What we need to do it to tackle the root cause of the problem so that it will not come back again in the next twenty years to haunt us. That twelve year old who is engaged in child labour today will turn 32 years old in 20 years and it will be a youth unemployment issue and that is why I think the time has come for us to do strategic thinking and put in place sustainable interventions to address this child labour concern because it is not just a human right or a humanitarian issue, it is a problem that can be found at the core of economic development .
The call is to everyone of us and not just the government to recognize that the issue of child labour is at the heart of economy and therefore there is every reason to give it all the resources it demands by ensuring that agencies with the mandate to deal with this are given the required support and the technical capacity to function.
The labour department of the Ministry of Health and Labour Relations must be equipped to do labour inspection in both the formal and in the informal sector. Agriculture sector must be streamlined so that children do work that is not hazardous. More so, the quality of education must be improved and when we are able to deal with these things we will be having 22 year old youths who are skilled and innovative and are applying their innovation in every sphere of the society. With their skills and innovation they can transform agriculture and ICT is different ways.
If I may ask, why is our oil fields employing expatriate to exploit that resource? It isn’t that there are no jobs in Ghana, there are millions of jobs but we have a mass of workers without the skills to work in those areas and that is where our attention must be drawn.
Unfortunately, what you find happening In Ghana is that when our children sit for BECE and fail and those who succeed do not do well at the SSCE,  then that is the end. I believe that if we provide quality and affordable education for the 12 and 13 year old of today, we are automatically creating oil engineers 20 years from today and that is a productivity and an economic issue and that is where our thinking must go.”

Laliana Razadrafinkoto
Liliana Razadrafinkoto (International Labour Organisation)
“Child labour in Ghana still remains a matter of concern. The latest child labour report, released by the Ghana Statistical Service in 2014 and supported by the ILO, indicates that 21.8 percent of children aged 5-17 years making 1.9 million children are engaged in child labour with another 1.2 million working in severe and hazardous forms of child labour in Ghana.
Poverty and low incomes are the main underlying reasons and until parents are able to support themselves financially, children would continue to be used to help top up household incomes in all stages of supply chains in agriculture, fishing, mining, retail and in other sectors.
Eliminating child labour can be challenging especially since it tends to thrive in the informal economies where a number of decent work deficit are observed, where measures related to labour market governance, labour inspection, occupational safety and health and social dialogue are often weak or absent and where wages, income security and social protection are inadequate.
Until buyers stop purchasing goods that are tainted with child labour from their suppliers; until effective and robust monitoring mechanisms are in place; until better alternatives to child labour, including free quality education and vocational training are available, child labour will never be eliminated, it may even get worse. The time has come for Ghana to talk openly about these issues and address them collectively since our current disposition on this matter stand in the way of a faster progress in eliminating child labour.”

Baba Jamal
Baba Jamal (Dep. Minister of Employment and Labour Relations)
“I believe everyone must be worried at the growing numbers of children forced into hard labour across the country (Ghana). However it is important to add very quickly that child labour is clearly different from acceptable work which is the normal way of growing up in preparation for adulthood. It is normal if I am a carpenter, to teach my children that trade by asking them to fetch me the tools I use in my work like the hammer or saw. But it is criminal when you contract someone to bring you a child from a village and subject that child to domestic labour or services or activities such as fishing that impact adversely on the health of the child. It is necessary to differentiate between these two but we have misconstrued some of these things and blown them out of proportion.
However, I admit that one out of every five children is estimated to be engaged in child labour and that is a breach of the constitutional and fundamental human rights of children and a liability to socio-economic development. We have also found that child labour takes place in small workspaces or residences which hide it from being addressed.
Regardless of the fact that many children may be engaged in child labour in the production of goods or services meant for the foreign markets, a lot more of the children are involved in the production of items intended for the local market. Even though poverty is at the core of the problem of child labour, there are, other contributing factors, for not all children from poor households engage in child labour, and some poor societies manage to keep the incidence of child labour low.
In Ghana, socio-cultural factors such as ignorance and misconception, inadequacies of the education system, and institutional weaknesses in the application of child labour laws are also important causes. Nevertheless, the poor are more vulnerable to the kind of exploitation that is found in child labour, partly because poor households often need the income earned by their children for survival.
The key task for eliminating child labour rests with government and we are working TO resolve the problem. 11,000 children were withdrawn and given support under the first National Plan of Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour. 
Nonetheless, child labour persists and is endemic in many deprived communities.
The reviewed National Plan of Action against Child Labour (NPA2: 2016-2020) is designed to build on the gains made, utilizing good practices and lessons learned to address the challenge in a more effective and sustainable manner. This plan gives attention to the need to mobilize more resources, focus action in local communities and strengthen edication outcomes so that children are enrolled and retained in school.”

Joyce Steiner
Joyce Steiner (Christian Council)
“There has been an age old practice of engaging children in hazardous work under the guise of preparing them for adulthood and that is a problem. There is no more doubt that we need a dialogue over this matter and subsequently proper laws put in place to protect children who are held under these practices.
The figures released by the Ghana Statistical Service must embarrass every one of us that in this day and age several thousands of children are engaged win work that can impede their growth both mentally and physically.
The time is due and every one of us must put our shoulders to the wheels and confront this problem once and for all. We have caused so many wounds to the children of this country and we cannot fail in our effort to turn the tide for the better.
 There can be no reason why the labour of children must be exploited in our quest for survival because it is not only unethical but a debasement of humanity.”

Mathias Tibu
Mathias Tibu (GJA Vice President)
“As the Vice President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) i call on all members of the Association to give the figures released by the Ghana Statistical Service about the state of the child labour in Ghana a deep thought and work to curtail the phenomenon  because failure to do so, we will condemn the future of coming generation.
Child labour has many negative consequences for our country and we must work with all stakeholders in taking out children engaged at the tender ages of their lives in work that can hinder their growth and their future contribution to the development of Ghana and the economy as a whole.
This time, we shouldn’t just sweep off the issues and go to sleep but we must dedicate enough space in our mediums to dialogue about it and where necessary bring policy makers to account for their action towards the eradication of this embarrassing situation.
It is only when we create the platform for the sustained discussion of this matter that we bring the children, their parents, policy makers and the rest society to think through ways of working together in ensuring that child labour in all of this forms are eradicated because ignorance of what constitute child labour could as well account for the rising numbers of children caught up in this.”

Josephine Dadzie
Josephine Dadzie (World Cocoa Foundation)
“The World Cocoa Foundation believes very strongly that collective efforts between government and private industries can work towards the mitigation of instances of child labour in the Cocoa supply chain.
This approach as a core pillar is evident in our current strategy towards Cocoa sustainability and Cocoa Action, two programmes being implemented together with the Governments of Ghana, La Cote d’Ivoire and some of our member companies aimed at reaching 300,000 farms in the two countries by 2020 signed by the two governments in 2o14.”

Josephine Kodua
Josephine Kodua (Coalition of NGO’s against child labour)
“We have been working vigorously over the years to create awareness about the adverse effect of child labour on the social formation of Ghana.
We have identified ignorance as a major contributory factor to the prevalence of child labour in. Many people are still not fully aware of what actually constitute child labour and that is why my coalition and several others have taken it upon ourselves step up the effort at educating people in the various strata of society about child labour and together we find out ways of bringing it to an end.
We have also taken notice of the cultural setting within which we find ourselves as a country and how it causes child labour to fester. Every Ghanaian irrespective of the class one occupies in society must recognise that our children cannot be forced into labour at their tender ages because it will simply impact adversely on their total development into adulthood.”



Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Perennial Floods In Accra



Introduction:
Street in front of the Christian Methodist School is flooded
The recent downpour of heavy rainfall in Ghana has caused great discomfort to many people. Destruction to life and property has been recorded in many parts of Greater Accra, with five people reported dead in the Central Region. In this photo, you find the street in front of the old campus of the Christian Methodist School, flooded by the rainfall. Well, we have gone directly to the people to find out about their frustrations and what they have as solutions to the problem of perennial flooding of some areas in the capital. Please read What The People Say below;


Vida Sulemana
Vida Sulemana
“We have suffered, really suffered as a result of the heavy downpour of rains today, Thursday (9th June, 2016) and again we have lost our belongings. Almost all of my clothing and electronic gadgets have been destroyed. I left my workplace and headed home as soon as the rains started and as you can see I am stranded because the street leading to my house has been taken over by the floods. I wish to take advantage of this medium and call on the mayor of Accra to expedite action to resolve the perennial floods that take place here at Asylum Down. Many old men and women and especially our children have nowhere to lay their heads when our houses are flooded and for many of us, we are forced to spend many days off work to clean the mud and flush out the water from our rooms. We have suffered greatly.”

De Graft Mensah
De graft Mensah
“The architectural design for the drain of this area around the Christian Methodist School and the Iran clinic is completely bad. The drain themselves that stretch from Kaokudi through Nima and Asylum Down is about 9 feet, but the drain for the exit or the confluence of the water that empty  into the Odo River from the areas mentioned above is only 5 feet and therefore when it rains heavily the water spills over by force and that is why we suffer in this place. It was for a good reason that this area is called Faanofaa, which means the mother of all the rivers or the confluence of all the rivers and that is why we need to put in place adequate measures by changing the architectural designs of the drainage system to forestall any such future occurrences. In fact, these things should have been done before the commencement of the Kwame Nkrumah interchange because the drains are so close to that beautiful infrastructure and its current location will impede the expansion project. Secondly, I think Ghanaians have become so irresponsible that we no longer care for the environment. We have made the street the Dustin for the rubbish we generate as we walk into town and I am sad and shy to find very beautiful and handsome young men and women in smart clothing litter or throw rubbish about as if the rubbish is fertilizer being sprinkled on the farm. We all know very well that plastic waste from the sachet and bottled water we dispose of improperly also accounts for the reasons why the drains are chocked and the water cannot flow but no one cares. I am very sad at this development. Everyone must take care of the environment like we take care of our wives and children and when we do that, we will drive mosquitoes away and spend less on medical bills."

Agnes Bashiru
Agnes Bashiru
Any time the rain falls heavily and there is flooding, the big men will sit in a helicopter and fly over our heads, inspecting the levels of damage to the communities but nothing is done. The helicopters came last year and it had come the previous times when we had these rainfalls. Isn’t it so annoying? What has made today’s rainfall worse is that the lights are out and we are compelled to wait till morning when the water has receded and we might have some sun to dry our wet clothing. The drain in this part of Accra must be reconstructed because they no longer serve the purposes for which they were made. We have lost too much as a result of this rainfall and we demand action from the government this time.”

Yaw Afum
Yaw Afum
“Much of the waste we generate in this country are for the consumable items we purchase from the shopping mall or items that are imported into this country. About 70% of all food we consume in this country are imported so we must compel the companies that produce these food items in abroad and those that import them to pay a special levy only for the management of the waste that is produced by the use of their products. In the first place by importing these food items from abroad, we have created jobs for the people in those countries to the detriment of the jobless lot here. Secondly, before these stuff are imported into the country, we have to change cedi into dollar placing unnecessary burden onto the local currency and the economy in  many ways. So therefore, why must we pay for clearing the mess or the rubbish that has been generated from the cheaply produced goods we have imported into our country? What is happening in this country is silly and we must rise up and demand that the right things are done else very soon, Ghana will only become the backyard of another country where all sorts of rubbish are kept.”

Gifty Sulemana
Gifty Sulemana
Our refusal to dispose of plastic waste properly also account for the reasons why we have floods in this part of Accra every time it rains. Plastic waste has consumed this country and you can find the menace everywhere you go. Whilst other countries have put in place adequate measures to control the use of plastics, Ghana does not seem to care about this problem and we keep generating more every day. The residents of this area suffer more because the drains from Aburi, Madina, Legon all empty themselves into the major drain around here and therefore we become the automatic recipients of the mess of other people. How many of us make an extra effort to make sure that the black plastics we take from the Koko and Waakye sellers are properly disposed of and how many of us make a conscious effort to avoid the plastics when we can? Almost everything you buy is accompanied with plastic bags. Take for instance the Kenkey seller. Once you approach the kenkey seller to buy kenkey, the kenkey is placed in a plastic. The fish also go into another plastic bag and the pepper is put into a different bag. As if that were not enough, the Kenkey, fish and pepper are all put into another plastic bag so you can just imagine the amount of plastics generated by Kenkey sellers alone in Accra. I think it should be possible to have another means of packaging the food we buy along the roads to reduce the amount of plastic bags we generate every hour in this country.”

Geoffrey Kweku Asante
Geoffrey Kweku Asante
“I am finished! My fridge, Television and Radio have been destroyed by the rains. We have complained several times to the authorities, but nothing has happened and yet again we have lost our properties. Look at the street behind me, it has been taken over by the floods and every house on this street is flooded. Alfred Oko Vanderpuje should explain to me why I must continue to pay him every month, provide a vehicle for his use, buy plane tickets for him every time he travels as he delivers so poorly since he was appointed mayor of Accra. How was he elected the best mayor of Africa when he keeps flooding our homes and destroying our electronic gadgets? All of my clothing is gone and the few I could rescue is soaked with mud. Oko Vanderpuje why? “

Vida Hagor
Vida Hagor
I am most worried about these rains because of my children. I have no idea where they will lay their heads this evening when they return from school because the mud of the rain has completely taken over my room. We have had several promises from the men who’ve been employed by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (A.M.A) to serve us in working to ensure that floods like these do not destroy my belongings but they are not working. The floods bring hardships to us in many ways. In the first place our electronic gadgets and personal effects are all destroyed. Secondly, we do not have places to lay our heads when it rains as some of our buildings often collapses or are partially damaged.”

Osafo Kwesi Abraham
Osafo Kwesi Abraham
“It is obvious that the impact of global warming could be devastating for humanity living everywhere in the world. This morning I have seen the news the floods that have occurred in France and the damage it has done in most parts of that country. What we are witnessing in Ghana is a call for everyone to work harder towards reversing this trend limiting the amount of poisonous gases we emit into the atmosphere. The bigger manufacturing companies in the West are the main cause of this crisis because of the pollution they have caused to the atmosphere, but we equally have a role to play in Ghana. At least we can ensure that the we work to put an end to the indiscriminate disposal of waste and demand that the Accra Metropolitan Assembly is made to function as it should be and they stop sharing excuses every time we have floods and other such disaster which damage property and destroy livelihoods.”

Elisabeth Sulemana
Elisabeth Sulemana
It is shameful that we always come back to repeat the same stories every time it rains and just when the sun comes up, we all go back and sleep like there is no tomorrow. The last time it rained, it was generally recognized that the drains in Accra are chocked because of the refuse that find its way there. I heard an official from the Accra Metropolitan Assembly who said that the AMA will place dustbins of all sizes across the capital especially but I haven’t seen any. Even if you come across one, they are often filled with garbage with some of the garbage dropping off. These are people we pay every month out of our meager salaries and yet they do not perform. I’m very sad about this situation because whilst some of us work so hard to make a living, a few others take them without any justification because if they really work for them, there must be no floods in Accra.”

Martin Afum
Martin Afum
The floods have completely destroyed the walls of our houses and our rooms are filled with terrible mud. I just do not have an idea where to pass the night today. Even where we sit and ply our trade or seek or livelihood has also been taken over by the rains. My shoes and all of my clothing have been destroyed. In this day and age, why must floods destroy so much? I often try to imagine what will happen to us in the instance of the kind of earthquakes that occur in Asia. We have simply become so helpless. The cost of electricity has shot up, there are no jobs and even as we sit and plan about what we can do to help our poor souls, these rains will also seek to divert attention. Oh no, Ghana is a horrible place to live today!”

Friday, April 8, 2016

Land Grab by The Ghana Armed Forces



War drums are beating at La in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana, and it could lead to some bloody clashes between the civilian population and the Ghana Armed Forces. According to the La people, lands that were given out for military purposes are currently being repackaged and sold to foreign companies and private businessmen without due regard to the original owners of the land. Read more here: http://www.modernghana.com/news/684062/tension-at-la-as-community-clash-with-military-over-land.html
The Coalition of La Youth Associations and the Board of Trustees of the Dadekotopon Development Trust have asked the Ghana Armed Forces and the Government of Ghana to return all parcels of land that are no longer intended for the purposes for which they were first acquired.
They have also accused the Military of “fomenting acts of Terror and brutalities against the local people.”
Please read below the views of the La people about the loot of their lands by the Ghana Armed Forces;

Margaret Adjetey
Margaret Adjetey
“The Military of today no longer epitomizes peace, discipline and integrity. It has become the facilitator for the loot of land for the benefit of private people, mostly engaged in real estate housing. All of our lands have been encroached upon by the Military under the pretext of seeking land for security buffer, but the main objective of this grand project is to make land easily accessible to private companies. This is criminal and we are prepared to fight this injustice. We are no longer frightened by the guns they wield because we bought it for them to protect our the people of this country and our properties. How it has happened that the Military now connive to extort and appropriate our properties can only be explained by God. We are sending a word of caution to Colonel Gyekye Asante and his superiors that this is La in Greater Accra and no force can cheat or defeat us.”

Korkoi Quaye
Korkoi Quaye
“We are serving notice to the Ghana Armed Forces to as a matter of urgency vacate every piece of land it has not acquired legitimately. The Military has become nothing more than thugs in the business of snatching land with the gun for private gains. We are the owners of the 2, 456 acres of land being grabbed by the Military and we are taking it back. The rate at which the Ghana Armed Forces has recently been trespassing on our lands by means of force is unacceptable and it will be resisted and that resistance has started from today. By our meeting today, we are ordering the Military to hand over every piece of land which no longer serves the purposes for which it was intended and we demand that they stop the encroachment of our collective ownership as a people with our heritage bound to this area and our land.”

Patience Anyekaa Annan
Patience Anyekaa Annan
“Colonel Gyekye Asante and his bosses must understand that this is Accra and not Asante. If he intends to hide under the uniform to conduct business by false pretenses, then we will remove those uniforms because God and the truth are on our side. If the Military intends to coerce the good people of La and twists their hands as they rob us of our lands then Colonel Asante must understand that a war has started and we shall fight to its logical conclusion. We are demanding that the President steps in and order the Military to hand over every stolen or illegally acquired land peacefully as he shall be a recipient of the chaos that is coming. We have suffered enough and we shan’t allow any man or woman to take advantage of his Military uniform to steal the resources of this area or oppress anybody in this country because we have lived through these times before and we know what a corrupt soldier wielding a gun can do. We love our country and that is why we want to stamp out greed and the corruption that has eaten into the Ghana Armed Forces. We prefer to die than to have our farmers and our children disposed of our lands. This is a warning and we will fight to the end.”

Doris Kai Amoah
Doris Kai Amoah
“My father was a small scale farmer who farmed till his death some years ago. My brothers also took to farming and so did their children because it was a source of livelihood for them and the rest of the family. These are the lands the soldiers have taken so forcefully from us to be handed over to foreigners. The Military men have now become business men. On many occasions they beat our farmers when they go to their farm to work in order to make a living. We are most surprised that these things are happening under a government we have served so diligently. If the benefit of casting a ballot or supporting John Mahama will lead to my dispossession of my land by the Military then what is the point of all the hard work we do for these political parties? Our sources of livelihood are being taken away from us and we have no refuge from these people. No people or township can survive without farmers because they feed the world every day by their labours of work on the land so where will the food come from when the land on which the farmers work has been taken?”

Rebecca Oboshie Torgbor
Rebecca Oboshie Torgbor
“We have so much land at La but we do not own them as the state and some foreigners have virtually taken them all. Our children and grandchildren are walking the streets without a place to lay their heads and that disturbs me a lot. The decision by the soldiers to forcefully take land they have not paid for complicating the matter, especially as we have already given them huge concessions for the construction of hospitals and barracks over the years. Do they want to make us a landless people? They have even destroyed our farmlands on which we farm as a source of livelihood, so how can we live with any dignity. The Military has also destroyed our sacred and revered sites that dates back to many years and one of such sites is the place where the “Kpletso Deity” can be found. They completely ransacked the whole area. But why must this happen to a people who have sacrificed so much to the construction of this nation? I hope the President will speak out on this matter because we are suffering and we demand justice.”

Edith Atwei Tawiah
Edith Atwei Tawiah
“We have contributed to the development of this country and for that the people of La demand that we be treated with some dignity and respect. We have chosen an amicable settlement to the injustices we have suffered at the hands of the Military because we believe that this government, especially will ensure that what is right and just is done. But having waited for this long and as the Military has decided to continue with the pillage and the direct grab of our lands, we have decided to resort to mass action and what has happened here today is the start of what is yet to come. We are not babies at all and our forefathers lived here long before the white men came to Ghana and before we had our independence. We have voluntarily given out so much land already for state projects and we will protect what is left because our children need them. The soldier men who have decided to do business with our land must beware, because this will fail and it will fail because soldierman no be business man. Their work is not to take land for whatever reason. If the State needs any portion of land here, the authorities must approach us for negotiation, but if they resort to force we shall resort to resistance because this is La.”

Elisabeth Akweley Kotey
Elisabeth Akweley Kotey
“My father is a farmer  who had his farm behind the International Trade Fair Centre for many years before my birth. Having taught me how to cultivate many crops when he was alive, it was only normal that I walked in his shoes and continued farming, which brought food home and served as a source of making money for myself and for my family. One fine morning I had gone to the farm to go about my business when a group of soldiers started shouting at me from a distance ordering me to leave the land immediately. With so much fear and anxiety I left everything behind and rushed home. I know that a certain portion of land had been given to the soldiers, some years ago, but what they want to take now does not belong them. If they do, they will drive myself and the generations after me into misery and poverty. I beg them to please leave my land for me because that is my only hope of survival in this life and that is all I have got to bequeath to generations after me. The soil on my farm is conducive for growing Okro and other vegetable and that is where I have made a living these many years.”

Vida Akong a.k.a Nakai Djen Yoo
Vida Akong a.k.a Nakai Djen Yoo
“I live in a family house that has become so congested because we no longer have land on which to build houses anymore. The land has all been taken bit by bit by Military officers and some shady characters whose claim of ownership to our lands cannot be verified but we know that they do not own the lands. The East Dadekotopon Development Corporation takes charge of our lands and they are once who decide what must happen to our lands. The lands the Military wants to take is unlawful because when the East Dadekotopon Development Corporation and the Ghana Armed Forces went to court over the matter, the judge ruled that we be paid the deserved compensation before the Military can take those lands but they have done contrary and that Colonel Gyekye Asante who has no respect for Nii Tsuru III will write an insulting letter when the attention of the army is drawn to the devastation that their actions are causing to our lands they have encroached upon. Only this morning some of our farmers have been beaten by the soldiers on their farms and these brutalities take place every day. These things must stop and the Military must vacate our lands because we are feeling the pinch and we are going to react in our search for justice.”

Hannah Adjorkor Boi
Hannah Adjorkor Boi
“I live in a small family house with my children and grandchildren. We desire to move out onto our family lands, but the Military men have taken so much of this land that we have no other alternative. I beg the President to order the soldiers out of our lands because our situation has become so miserable and frustration has set in for most of us. We are being made to feel like strangers and that is what hurts me so much because we were the ones who willingly gave out lands for the development of Accra because we believed in nation building. That gesture must not be taken to mean meekness at all because when we decide to take drastic measures, no one will survive the heat.”

Salomey Pattison
Salomey Pattison
“The insults and the indignity we have suffered at the hands of the Ghana Armed Forces is completely shocking. That, a common colonel from Asante can look in the face of the La Mantse, Nii Kpobi Tettey Tsuru III and challenge his authority when he complained about the serious environmental hazards that the wining by some private persons were causing to residents on land illegally acquired by the Military is completely dumb-founding. I know he will not address the Asantehene in the terms he did of  Nii Kpobi Tettey Tsuru III in his letter, but he must be rest assured that we will make sure that he never takes advantage of his Military uniform and take lands that do not bother anywhere near the Ashanti Region. His disgust and disrespect for Nii will be punished at the right time when every inch of land he and his bosses are seeking to grab is taken away in broad daylight. What belong to the people of La will always remain ours and no businessman or soldier man business man can take it. We are pleading with the authorities to initiate an amicable settlement of this matter because when the cock crows, La will respond and we will respond very fiercely. Enough of the land grab.”

Vivian Akweley Ako
Vivian Akweley Ako
“We called the press to this meeting today because we have had enough of the marginalization and the disregard for our children and those that come after them. The time to ensure that sanity is made to prevail is now because we cannot accept the state of affairs with regard to the manner in which the Armed Forces has decided to handle this scandal. We had hoped that we could live side by side with Military, but they have proven otherwise by the passage of time. If the Military needed land, then why did they sell the huge plot of land opposite the 37 Military Hospital to private developers who are building high rise buildings without our consent. They are not getting any more land from here and of they choose to apply brute force as they are doing today then history might have to repeat itself because no one has ever managed to cheat the people of La and those who did had their fingers burnt. That cock is crowing and the La people are responding like never before. The struggle for the preservation of our lands has started today.”

Mary Opong
Mary Opong
“For the very first time the people of La have started a series of actions to protest against the injustices we have suffered at the hands of the Military and we ask of the solidarity of all people home and abroad. We have become homeless people because of our generosity to the State and certain characters seek to take advantage of our hopelessness. We cannot bear the suffering anymore and we demand that justice is made to prevail today. We cannot hand over the few portions of land on we farm and live. Land is the basis of every economic activity and we are shocked to learn that in this day and age a few groups of people with briefcases and some in Military uniforms will shamelessly seek to take what has been a collective ownership of the La people for these many centuries. But the protest has started from today and we stand very firmly behind the Dadekotopon Development Corporation demand of every portion of land the Ghana Armed Forces have taken illegally.”

Gifty Yemofio
Gifty Yemofio
“Our participation in this year’s election and the choices we will make will definitely be dependent on the outcome of the call of the Military to stop the pillage of the resources of the La people. We are custodians of the La lands and we insist that the military loot of acres of our land must be returned immediately. The deception and the coercion have gone on for too long and it must stop. Where in this country has a people so willingly given this level of solidarity to any government? There is none! We have given out land to thegovernment for so many projects which has benefitted everyone in this country, including the people of La but we have sacrificed more. The government must step in to maintain order before matters get out of hand. In fact, there will be no place to mount the ballot boxes because we no cause to participate in the upcoming general elections in November. We are embittered by the raw treatment we have received at the hands of the government and the Military