Ghana: Farmers Protest Against GHA

Project Affected Persons along the Accra-Kumasi Highway Lot 6, Kwafokrom-Apedwa Junction, yesterday took to the streets for the second time, and also went to the office of the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for Suhum/Kraboa/Coaltar, to demand the immediate payment of their compensation packages promised them by the government.

The demonstrators, numbering over two hundred, said they could no longer wait until after the elections, since they did not know what might happen when there is a change of government.

A fortnight ago, the Project Affected Persons took to the streets and mounted a blockade at Okroase, a town near Suhum, to prevent vehicular movement on the Accra-Kumasi Highway to demand for their compensation packages.

According to them, for four years, their sources of livelihoods had been put on hold, leaving them with no option, than to rely on benevolent families and friends for bread and butter.

Since 2009, businesses, ranging from farms, fuel filling stations, a sawmill, to eatries among many others along the Kwafokrom-Apedwa road, have been closed and evacuated for the reconstruction of the Accra-Kumasi Highway Lot 6.

It took the intervention of the MCE, Samuel Fleitcher, to call for a police reinforcement team to dismantle the road block, following which he arranged a meeting with the aggrieved persons at the Town Council Hall to settle the matter amicably.

Following their engagement with the MCE, some payments have been made to farmers whose farmlands were affected, as a result of the road construction, but the rest of the group members said the action of the government was not enough, until all of them had been paid.

The amount paid is not immediately known, but the Project Affected Person are entitled to GH¢23,114,404.60 as compensation package. They termed the government's action as "selective payments of compensation package," and warned to continue with the demonstration until they were "fully sorted out".

"We will not stop our action until we have been fully compensated. Has it ever occurred to the government how we have survived for the past four years? Whoever is responsible for our payment should consider himself or herself in our shoes, and see how it takes to survive under this strenuous condition," moaned Owusu Dorme, a sawmill operator, whose business has been affected by the project.

Clad in all red attires, the demonstrators chanted war songs, as they entered the offices of the MCE to demand their compensation package. They were welcomed by the MCE, but to their surprise, Mr. Fleitcher told them that they were at the wrong place at the right time, since he was not even privy to the documents of the said compensation package in their possession.

"Your concerns," the MCE noted, "have been misdirected." In effect, he directed them to lodge a formal complaint to the Road Project Consultant for address.

He urged them to use peaceful means to voice out their grievances, rather than demonstrate against the government.

The government, according to a letter dated November 21, 2012, and signed by the Chief Director, Ministry of Finance & Economic Planning, is expected to release some funds for payment to the Project Affected Persons on Friday, November 30, 2012.

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