By Alfred K Dogbey
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Executives in the Tema East and West Constituencies, who demanded the immediate dismissal of the Tema Development Corporation (TDC) boss over the demolishing of some illegal houses on its lands, have backtracked, conceding that the demolishing is “a necessary thing that should be done”.
Less than 72 hours after their public outburst in a statement last week, some members of the NDC Executives who form the Tema Coordinating Committee of the party, started visiting the offices of TDC boss, Joseph Abbey saying “sorry” to him.
The apologies leaves Richard Fiadomor, doubled as Special Aide to the Tema Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), Isaac Ashai Odamtten, abandoned.
One of them who met the TDC boss is the Tema West NDC Constituency Chairman, Isaac Robert Pobee. In an interview with The Herald yesterday, he described their public outburst as a mere political trick to protect NDC votes from Adjei Kojo as it is one of the party’s strongholds in the Tema West Constituency.
He confirmed visiting the TDC boss on Monday, after a meeting with one Col. Salifu, who took time to explain the technicalities of the demolishing exercise to him.
“My brother, look we are doing politics, certain times we take decisions that may affect ourselves; yes. So let’s leave it as it is. Because it is my party”, adding that “if we had not done that, we can never go there when campaign time has come”, maintaining that “I know it’s a necessary thing that has to be done”.
One after the other, the Executives are said to be trooping into TDC boss’s office to apologize profusely for the biased criticism against him, saying they were misinformed.
Others also insisted they had no knowledge of the issue. Many were those who revealed nobody notified them of a press release before it was issued, because they are aware TDC was rather doing the right thing.
Apart from the Constituency Chairman, two other officers of the NDC whose were given as Majesty and Vida, all part of the Tema Coordinating Committee, have been spotted sneaking into the TDC Headquarters to render an apology to Mr. Abbey.
Chairman Pobee told The Herald, how he left the TDC boss’ office satisfied on the need for the demolishing exercise by Cooperation.
He, however, described his interaction with the TDC boss as “personal” but made it clear to him during the meeting that the Executive’s presence at the demolishing scene was because the area was indeed, the stronghold of the NDC party, therefore, they had to be seen sympathizing with the affected people.
The Coordinating Secretary of the Tema Coordinating Committee, Richard Fiadomor, last week, issued a statement questioning why the TDC allowed the residents of Adjei Kojo, near Ashaiman to put up their buildings, before demolishing them.
Mr. Fiadomor, who also doubled as special aide to the Tema Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), Isaac Ashai Odamtten, claimed that, “As a party, we have restrained ourselves in questioning the ineptitude of the Managing Director of TDC (Joseph Abbey) and today we are saying enough and the president should sack him without delay.”
He said: “We as a party cannot sit aloof for such an exercise which had the potential to generate a massive backlash for government to go without comment. The party is very much disappointed in the TDC for this exercise carried out without any human face.”
Mr. Pobee, however, concluded that the decision to publicly attack the TDC was mainly a decision taken by the Coordinating Council.
Meanwhile, Land and Natural Resources Minister, Alhaji Inusah Fuseini on Monday lunged at the insanity permeating land acquisition in the country and charged persons crying for the victims of the recent demolition exercise by the TDC to rather commit to fighting the canker of impunity in the country.
The Minister, gave his backing to the demolishing exercise, as he was convinced the victims encroached on a piece of land they had no title to, insisting that merely because a stranger walks into and occupies a completed house does not make him or her the owner of the house.
The Minister was commenting on the demolition exercise by the TDC on Accra-based Joy FM in an interview with the respected radio broadcaster, Dzifa Gbeho-Bampoe.
Asked if there was no other alternative than to render the people homeless, the Lands and Natural Resources minister said “One should also question whether we should allow impunity and indiscipline to prevail in this country. It is always important that we always balance the need to ensure that we have law and order in this country and the need to meet the requirements of people.
“…The indiscipline in land administration must be brought to an end,” he stated.
According to him, the demolition exercise falls within the ambit of the TDC, agreeing that the disputed land is the property of the TDC.
While admitting that what is going on in Tema is unfortunate, he was quick to add “repeating mistakes has never been considered as an experience” adding “Let’s try as a country to do things properly. If you build your house and someone walks in and occupies a room in your house, does that fellow become the owner of that room?
He said if managers of government lands look on for the land to be encroached upon, the encroachers will not be said to have validly acquired the land.
When his attention was drawn to the fact that some victims may have been given documents purporting to be original land documents, the minister said that is no excuse.
“You can’t rely on a forged document to say you are in adverse possession [of property].
The minister would not want to try the matter on radio except to add that “buyers beware! When you are buying the land the responsibility is on you to ensure that you acquire the land properly.”