After rejecting a section of the new Lands Act 2020 that empowers the citizenry to take chiefs to court to account for land sales, The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, instead called for more involvement of the indigenous people in licensing of concessions. This the Asantehene believes would represent fair and shared ownership, engender organic equity, and could even curb , the illegal mining or galamsey activities in the country.
The new Act puts the traditional authority in a fiduciary role over lands and empowers subjects to demand accountability over the use of proceeds from land sale.
But the Asantehene, at a meeting between the Ashanti Region House of Chiefs and the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources stated that areas under his leadership are exempt in the application of the Act.
At the request of the Regional House of Chiefs, Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Hon Samuel Abdulai Jinapor, led a team from the Ministry to explain the new Lands Act to the Ashanti Region House of Chiefs in their last meeting of the year.
One of the principal issues that came up was the power the new act gives to the subjects over the sale of land.
“In the new Act, the chiefs are caretakers of the lands. They hold it in trust. So their subjects can demand accountability even in court. In many areas, chiefs misappropriate income from the sale of land”, Samuel Abu Jinapor explained.
However, the Asantehene argues otherwise.
According to him, the Asante Kingdom has its own systems of accountability over the sale of land which they hold in trust for his office.
He said any suspicion of mismanagement by a traditional council is reported to his office for appropriate action.
“The elders of various chiefs are the people who can call for accountability and that is when I step in. There is accountability in the kingdom but not to any individual,” he said.
Referring to the new Act, The Asantehene emphasized, “Not all that is printed here is applicable to my jurisdiction. I put chiefs and fetishes in charge of the lands in the kingdom. The chiefs are not accountable to any youth”. Rhetorically, he added “Then where is my royal authority!”
The Asantehene advocates a review of laws regulating mineral resources in the country for purposes of equity in sharing of benefits.
It will be recalled that, at a recent public lecture in Kumasi, the capital of Asanteman, the minister said “Proper regulation of the mining sector needs integrity” because “The mineral resources of Ghana are the property of the people of Ghana vested in the President as a trustee and therefore government has an obligation to ensure that the exploitation and utilization of these resources benefit the actual owners of the resources; the people of Ghana”. The Minister then seized the opportunity to call for the amendment of mining policies and regulations.
Source: Joy News