No Longer A Coughing Prank

Hassan Ayariga

A bloodbath was averted during the weekend at Kwabenya when some workmen, agents of Hassan Ayariga, proceeded to carry out construction work on a land said to belong to the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC).

The invitation to land guards to proceed to the spot by Hassan Ayariga, the man at the centre of the storm, when he was challenged did not help matters.

The politician who earned his notoriety during an Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) presidential debate when he deliberately disrupted then Candidate Akufo-Addo’s responses with an unnatural cough reportedly pulled a pistol, a threat on agents of the municipal authorities who would not let him have his way.

An engineer of the municipality who spoke on a radio station yesterday, narrated a worrying story about impunity exacted by Hassan Ayariga. According to him, the politician has no document backing his claim to the ownership of the land yet he went ahead to commence work on the wall construction.

Even more disturbing was the disclosure by the engineer that the wall being constructed was on a waterway; the implications of which is too glaring to be marginalized.

But for the intervention of the police who went there with the assembly’s inspectors, Hassan Ayariga could have fired upon the officials. The weapon has been seized and fortunately too the land guards he commandeered to the place through a phone call just folded their arms when the officials informed them that there is no authorization for the work being done. Perhaps they had read through the impunity and even stupidity.

The level of impunity being showed by the gentleman in this Kwabenya land issue is becoming disturbing and we think that the police and other relevant authorities must act to send a message that there is rule of law in this country and nobody including Hassan Ayariga is above the law.

If such impunity was widespread under the previous political administration, it should be eradicated today.  Ghanaians voted for change so among other things, a finality would be brought upon such doses of impunity by state players and political stooges of the ruling party.

We have credible information that the Lands Commission had earlier sent a correspondence to the Greater Accra Regional Police asking them to stop the encroachment on the land in question which as a state land belongs to the GAEC.

That the said Hassan Ayariga was, in spite of the request of the Lands Commission, still able to move to the site with land guards and workers, is the height of impunity perpetrated by a person who is used to such breaches under the previous regime.

The pistol seized by the police, we have no doubt, is a registered firearm otherwise the police must charge him for keeping an unlicensed weapon before coming to the substantive case.

With such a clear case of encroachment on state land, dealing with the defaulter with kids’ gloves would not inure to the interest of law enforcement in this country.

Had there been a bloodshed at Kwabenya when Hassan Ayariga was misbehaving there, we could have posed the question as to what did the regional police command do when the Lands Commission alerted them about the encroachment and Hassan Ayariga’s bluff?