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Land grabbing becoming common because chiefs are being politically influenced, manipulated – Anthropologist

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Dr. Niagia Santuah, Head of the Department of Culture and Development Studies at the Millar Institute for Transdisciplinary and Development Studies (MITDS) in Bolgatanga, has expressed concern that land grabbing and controversies surrounding lands in Ghana and Africa at large will persist, largely due to the political influence on many chiefs.

Dr. Santuah made these comments during an appearance on A1 Radio’s Day Break Upper East Show on November 13, 2023.

“In many places, there have been land reforms, and governments are attempting to vest lands in chiefs who are easily manipulated and controlled. You cannot manipulate the Tendana. Now, chiefs, through legislation, have control over lands that they are subsequently selling.”

Dr. Santuah suggests that there is a grand scheme to colonize Africa still in progress, and land grabs and political manipulation remain the means for continued colonization. Chiefs, he claims, have become the primary conduits for this ongoing situation.

“I don’t know whether they are aware that there is a framework for disenfranchising Africans. There is a broader framework for destroying our values and taking our lands. The imperialists don’t want to stop just because they left physically. They are still there, using different systems to reach us. People are using various means to gain access to lands. Land grabbing today is a significant issue across Africa. It represents a different phase of colonization. How are they doing this? First, by vesting lands in chiefs who are easy to manipulate, they can take over the land because the chief is supposed to be promoting development,” he said.

Meanwhile, the distinction between constitutional administration and traditional rule in Ghana, particularly in northern Ghana, continues to fuel conflicts.

Dr. Santuah referenced pre-colonial times when the British introduced Regional Councils, further dividing and confusing the already existing leadership system in the country.

“The tendana is the first settler on the land and the landowner. In northern Ghana, land is everything. This is the system the British came to meet, and it worked for us because once you own the land, you own everything. It is important for us to look at what land means to us as people in Northern Ghana.”

“The Guggisberg Constitution of 1925 created the regional councils that were responsible for administering legislation, helping the British administer their territories, and also serving as the interface between the subjects and the British imperialist interface. Right from the word go, when we had this formalised system, the chief occupied a very controversial position because they are the interface between what the government wants and what the people want—a balanced interest. People say chiefs represent tradition, and tradition is in constant conflict with modernity,” he explained.

Source: A1radioonline.com|101.1MHz|Mark Kwasi Ahumah Smith|Ghana

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