In October 2022, I wrote an editorial on the galamsey tragedy the country has been subjected to. While at it, there have been allegations that people close to government are involved in the deadly menace.
It has also been alleged that police and military personnel are deployed to protect groups and individuals engaging in the act – there is a reported case of military men attacking the taskforce on an operation to flush out illegal miners – a journalist, Erasmus Asare-Donkor was victimized, together with his driver and their vehicle vandalized by the military men protecting the illegal miners.
But in all these, the Akufo-Addo administration has been putting up a stiff upper lip acting as though it is actually doing something to curtail the criminal act of galamsey that is not only destroying farmlands, and forest reserves, but water bodies and the very future of the country.
The height of indiscretion in the matter exhibited was when the President openly spoke on behalf of the mining concern known as Akonta Mining, owned by the New Patriotic Party’s Bernard Antwi-Boasiako. The company was accused of mining in a forest reserve, but the President in a public statement said, “Akonta Minins was not mining in a forest reserve as we speak.” But he didn’t say if it was, before he spoke.
The unregulated practices of galamsey is practically suffocating Ghana and it’s now reached dimensions that make the threat an existential one.
Additionally, foreigners have seen the weaknesses in the system and are exploiting it by entering the country and inflicting more damage to extract as much of the precious mineral as they can, leaving in their trail more devastation and poisons.
The impact of galamsey on Ghana has been seen in the snuffing out of young lives. Every year young people are killed by collapsing galamsey pits or they suffocate from lack of oxygen in underground pits and die from inhaling carbon dioxide, and yet the national response has been more in loud meaningless speeches, and aimless campaigns that end nowhere. With time the perpetrators have been emboldened, as it does appear they have political and traditional powers behind them, indeed, politicians, their friends, families, and cronies and traditional rulers, empowered with the responsibility to protect the land are also involved in no small measure.
Apparently, in March 2021, a report was prepared on the menace and submitted to the President, but he ignored it.
Stopping galamsey is a collective responsibilty, but the biggest part lies with the government that controls State resources.
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