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Opinions of Thursday, 20 February 2020

Columnist: Selassie A. Rich

Selassie A. Rich writes: Demolition now a tool for power play

Factories have been demolished at the Ghana Trade Fair Centre Factories have been demolished at the Ghana Trade Fair Centre

The practice of demolition is not a foreign exercise in our country as history documented many of such developments with mixed feelings in the past. Ghana Trade Fair Company Limited (GTFCL) pulled down a number of structures belonging to different companies following a redevelopment project it intends to undertake. The contemptible mistreatment of some tenants in the demolition exercise carried by the Trade fair authorities wrecks my heart as a citizen.

Amidst the glamour packaged excuses by some executives like the C.E.O and Board Chairman of the Ghana Trade Fair Company Limited for embarking on the demolition spree, a disrespect for a court order is highly unacceptable. If it is true that the authorities of GTFCL sidelined court orders to carry out the exercise, then there is the need for the lovers and enforcers of the rule of law to take up this matter. It is improper to stand aloof and watch a few wrong and greedy business people take everybody for a free ride. I want to use this medium to place a demand on the judicial service to come public and clarify this matter.

It may be true that as humans we may resist change because of our present or short-term benefits and lost sight of the economic gains that may rain on the masses which is also not good. But what I find strange is the urge of GTFCL to push an interest in redevelopment when an injunction is served by court order to impede the exercise. It also provokes laughter knowing the time the exercise was carried out. “Reducing factories to debris” in the dead of the night further cements the popular axiom that “Ghanaians don’t love their own.” Sad! It requires a considerable amount of courage to move in at twelve o'clock with men armed to their teeth and extinguish a more than GHC50 million worth of investment at a time that government is poised to industrializing the economy and giving tax breaks to existing companies owned by foreigners and under the pretense of 1D1F.

I am interested in knowing the investors and partners of the redevelopment plan of GTFCL. Gradually, we are advancing our fortunes as a country to strangers. A wise elderly man once told me our society in every state is a blessing, but politics and power-play in their best state are necessary evils. Indeed, the wickedness of men produced politics. For now, the livelihood of some of the affected persons who depend on the companies situated in the GTFCL to keep their body and soul together are hanging in the balances. I feel sorry for them.

In my opinion, I think this exercise was harsh and old fashioned. This will not in any way advance the good of our country. A water is stirred with a poison of hate and may impede love for nation. Whoever supervised this activity must be brought to book. I hope Government will not use the tax payers’ monies for compensating the affected individuals in a legal redress.