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Opinions of Thursday, 6 June 2013

Columnist: Adzimah, Worlanyo

Land guard bruitality- my take

I have seen the video which has caught so much media attention; “police brutality of alleged land guards”. (Or should I rather say; alleged police brutality of alleged land guards). Like many others, the video made me a bit uncomfortable. To be fair, it wasn’t cool a treatment meted out to fellow “human beings”.
After watching the 2minutes 31 seconds video, all I could say (in ewe) was “eva glo for these land guards” meaning, “enough was enough for these land guards”!
You see, we don’t just have a history with land guards as a country. We have what in my view is a painful history and I believe the Ghana police service as an institution has the worse history. Do you remember the untimely death at Ablekuma of two Police constables; Owusu Sekyere (alias Kwaku Ninja) and his friend who I readily remember as “taller”? They had been attached to the Striking Force Unit of the Ghana Police Service at the time; one cannot downplay the fact that they were assets to the institution. These men didn’t just die “untimely”, In fact, they were gruesomely murdered by these same land guards. So you see? The police as an institution would always (if not forever) have scores to settle with land guards.
Land guards are a nuisance! Somewhat more directly, I have experienced the illegal, wicked and sometimes inhuman activities of land guards. They always look fierce. I think it is worrying that after all these years we still have land guards terrorizing people they disagree with over land disputes. One of my aunties some years ago purchased a land somewhere in kasoa. She was harassed on a daily basis by not one, not two, not three, but numerous groups of land guards (they came in turns). She had gone through all the legal processes in acquiring a land and going through the same legal processes needed to build her own house. After part of her building, work equipments destroyed and some of her workers injured, she was left with no choice but to succumb to the pressures of these land guards by using more than half of her hard earned money for her project, to pay off these groups of land guards one after the other. This was her only way out to go back to continue work on her site in peace. These were huge monies involved.
In principle, I am in full support and I don’t care much how the police would do it, but like armed robbers, they (police) MUST get rid of these wicked individuals called land guards who operate with so much impunity in our communities. In fact, I have seen land guards with locally manufactured guns shot, injure and sometimes kill masons and other site workers with whom they disagree on land ownership.
I remember not long ago in this country when criminal activities became so rampant especially in Kumasi. Armed robbers operated with so much impunity that, the voice of the majority who were directly feeling the ripple of these illegal activities superseded that of human rights activists. In a meeting with security capos, the president (also commander in chief of armed forces) ordered the police to do all within their ability to completely clamp down or reduce the rate at which these criminals operated. The police upped their game and adopted strategies to curb the situation. They were asked no questions as to how they would do it or did it because we were all interested in eradicating crimes.
What is our take on land guards as a country? I think just like the armed robber menace; we should be bold and tag activities of Land guards as CRIMINAL! And deal with them equally as we deal with armed robbers.
I believe all the attention and directed comments hitting this hard at the police force from the electronic and social media is very much misdirected! No attention or rather no question has yet been asked and answered about how to curb the activities of land guards (As if it were legal). Rather than addressing ways of dealing with these illegal, wicked, heartless and inhuman activities of land guards, we will spend all the “limited time” hitting hard at the institution legally mandated to halt such activities and rather give land guards the room to operate with all the bravado they display!
Finally, my honest advice goes to Ghana police service- I don’t know if you have one of your own in your books. If not, you should “apply for adoption” from the (so ambiguous) military clause; “by use of minimal force”. Please use “minimal force” to chase those crazy baled head land guards out of town while you still can. Let’s not wait for the situation to get to an alarming stage where the president would have to hold a meeting with security capos and order for “reinforcement”.

Worlanyo Adzimah