Am I the only person not surprised at politicians’ endorsement of the campaign spearheaded by Citi FM and others against the illegal mining menace also known as galamsey?
Nothing beats my imagination than all the times l have listened to interviews about accountability; that is when you will hear such things as “that doesn’t fall in within my duties, I will have to contact A or B to get that information for you.” Better still they will simply answer “sorry I am not in the right position to give that information.”
On April 3, 2017, Citi FM launched the #StopGalamseyNow campaigns aimed at getting government to eradicate the menace of illegal mining.
The campaign among others demanded the following:
•Total cessation of all small and medium scale mining for a period of six months
•Seize the issuance of new mining licenses for a year
•Reclassify mining categories to reflect the use of new larger equipment
•Allow water bodies to regenerate their natural ecology
•Tree planting and land reclamation projects
I dare to say these goals are unfeasible if we fail to tackle the problem from its very core.
The video that went viral of the Youngman who claims to be an illegal miner and calls himself Bronzy (Bako Pe/ Bronzy One), is one of the numerous basis for my argument.
In that video clip, he audaciously cautioned the President not to attempt eradicating what he described as the only source of livelihood for a number of people. He also noted that, many started this fight before him [President Akufo-Addo] but to no avail. Initially, I found his submission very offensive only to see our point of agreement after a careful consideration.
The fact that Galamsey is the only source of survival for a good number of people who earn very meagre but have to survive; is just one of the arguments. What will compel an entire community to be actively involved in this canker is another. Why will a farmer give out his farmland with crops almost near harvest in exchange for a sum of money that is nothing compared to lifetime revenue from his farm?
In our debates regarding Galamsey, have we noticed that most of the mining companies have a reason to defend their operations? In a radio documentary by Umaru Sanda Amadu in Sunyani, the Land Access Control Manager for Newmont Ahafo said they compensate the communities they operate in both at the community level as well as individual land owners.
In brief, his argument was that, they have the consent of the natives to operate not leaving out the role of chiefs in this agreement.
“I am proposing that in future, chiefs in communities where illegal mining thrive communities should be destooled: appointment of District Chief Executives (DCEs) should be stopped and District Police Commanders also be sacked. Sometimes we have got to be very radical because they can’t say they don’t have idea about happenings in the communities.” – This was a submission from Professor Agyeman Badu Akosa on Abusua FM’s Abusua Nkomo on 22nd September 2016. (Ultimatefm online).
I love the Professor’s use of the word radical. Could this be our solution? Perhaps this is when we blame Political leaders but for how long? Is it not obvious the politicians have played with issues regarding our welfare? Never taking any radical steps for the fear of losing elections? From the days of Alhaji Inusah Fuseini to Nii Osah Mills and now John Peter Amewu, they have all used the phrase “I will” as Ministers for Lands and Natural Resources, but that pledge is backed with little to no action.
Is it not obvious that the interest of some selfish people is always protected at the expense of the rest of us; I call them wolves in sheep’s clothing? They will do all in their power to destruct or manipulate any process that will end their selfish gains.
Let me quickly add that, it cuts across different spheres of our development. Personally I think our solution should be more of orientation. Orienting the very people who give out their lands about the consequence of their actions.
Professor Chris Gordon, an environmental scientist in an interview with Bernard Koku Avle of Citi FM in September 2016, enumerated several health hazards on the whole country regardless of which part of the country one resides.
To end his submission, he acknowledged that solution to this canker is a bottom-up approach other than vice versa.
Yes; the solution lies with the very people giving out their lands. Let us not think that any government will solve this problem with ease; the least said about the bureaucracy in this country the better.
None of the people in authority may discourage any fight of this kind, but the troubles that one will go through seeking to stop the menace itself will deter them.
In saving mother Ghana; let us not underrate the capabilities of the wolves in sheep’s clothing.
By: Princella Selasi Yawa Amevor/Office of the HOD, Public Relations, University of Professional Studies, Accra.