Compulsory land acquisition and payment of compensation in Ghana. Case study: DIGYA national park, DIGYA.

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Compulsory acquisition of land is basically the process by which the government or the state takes or acquires land belonging to individuals for public use and benefit such as the provision of basic infrastructure that will promote economic, cultural, health and social wellbeing of its citizens. For this development to take place the government needs to acquire land that will act as platform for such interventions. Whereas in the country, land ownership is guaranteed in the lordship of customary interest, the state has no option than to employ eminent domain to acquire private rights in land without complete accepted agreement from the owners for societal benefit. Yet despite being a core and necessary governmental power, compulsory acquisition has always attracted controversy, both in theory and practice. The need to strictly adhere to the rules and procedures of the legislative tool and also non- payment of compensation has become obvious and apparent. Considering these intricacies and complications involved in the compulsory acquisition process in the country requires some perceptible revision that will promote good practices among governments at local, regional and national levels. The methodology applied on this research was drawing on pragmatic and realistic studies pertaining to compulsory acquisition in Ghana through qualitative and quantitative analytical framework. The research design used for the research was the case study approach to put the study in context. Study difficulties as well as wide-ranging nature of research were taking into consideration in employing this research. The main focus of the research is however, on the socio-economic impact on the lives of persons whose parcels of land are acquired but fair and equitable compensation has not been paid by the state. The effects of compulsory land acquisition identified included changes in income levels, land ownership structure, farming practices, family composition and cultural and social values, norms and bonds. Other issues the study considered include, principles underpinning legislative tool, argument in support and against compulsory acquisition. It also goes on to discuss the pattern of land ownership in Ghana and procedures for exercising compulsory acquisition. Some suggestions are made as to how the process can be improved in future. It is hoped that the lessons learned from this case study will be informative to decision makers not only in Ghana but also in other developing countries where government projects caused a lot of discontentment on the part of the people affected on one hand and the government on the other.Hence, the study seeks to outline ways whereby some of these problems can be minimized in order to ensure that compulsory acquisition is effectively carried out in the near future.
A Thesis submitted to the Department of Land Economy, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy in Land Management, Department of Land Economy, College of Art and Built Environment, 2016.