On March 30, 2023, The Chronicle reported that over 1,000 residents of Sun City, a suburb of Gomoa Buduburam in the Gomoa East District, had been left stranded following their eviction from a parcel of land that was in dispute.
According to reports, personal belongings of the affected persons were thrown out of their homes and the entrances blocked with new padlocks to prevent them from accessing the place.
It was reported that the Plaintiff, who claimed ownership of the land, won the case in court against the residents of the area, and had secured a court order to demolish all the houses on the said property, in order to give effect to the judgement of the court.
Residents who have had their houses demolished have described the action of the Plaintiff, as well as the police taskforce as awful and have called on the government to intervene in the matter.
In fact, the District Chief Executive (DCE) of the area, Mr. Solomon Darko Quarm, has described the exercise as an act of insurgency on the people of Gomoa East.
The argument put forth by both the victims and their DCE was that they were not properly engaged before the commencement of the exercise.
As much as The Chronicle respects the court’s judgement, we also hold the view that the execution of the order should not be done in a draconian manner, but to temper justice with mercy.
We are not saying the victor in the court case should not carry out the order, but we must also bear in mind that Ghana has opted for a democratic dispensation and one of its tenets is to respect established institutions and their orders. All we are saying is that when it involves human lives we must temper justice with mercy.
Some of the evicted residents have children who have to be in school and aged parents who need constant attention. Whilst executing the court order, did anyone stop to think about how these categories of dependents are going to cope with the situation?
The Chronicle thinks the new land owner should afford the victims a little time to prepare and move out of the place. This Rambo-style approach of executing court orders by using security personnel should be a thing of the past.
Also, we think it is time the stakeholders call a national dialogue on land acquisition in modern times. Stories of people being ejected from their homes on the basis of wrongfully acquiring lands, which they had gone through the chiefs or stools to buy and later dealt with the assemblies who issue them with permits for building has become one too many. The land tenure system needs to undergo severe overhauling.
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