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The Battle Against Galamsey Should Be Fought By All Ghanaians


All of a sudden the nation has woken up from its deep slumber to the menace that is galamsey —- the illegal mining activities that have laid waste to once fertile and pristine farming land and irreversibly contaminated bodies of fresh water.

Ghanaians of all political persuasions and financial wherewithal, civil society and professional groups and the ubiquitous market women have joined forces to compel the government to act.

And official response has been anything but very encouraging. Government officials have sent out strong signals that this time around, they are determined to curb galamsey.

The president has spoken out forcefully on the issue. He said recent threats by illegal miners to vote him out of power in 2020 won’t dissuade him from fighting against galamsey.

It is indeed heartwarming to see that level of commitment from Mr. Addo; he should not lose sleep over the threats —we are, after all, four years removed from the 2020 elections and the fog of time will render the threats by the illegal miners hollow.

What is so poignant about the President’s stance is that the lack of political leadership on the galamsey issue in prior years doomed the fight against the menace —- not that there was widespread coordinated effort like we see today.

Mr. Peter Amevu, the minister for Lands and Natural Resources, has also added his voice and that is gratifying. Those engaged in illegal mining have been put on notice; their activities would no longer be tolerated, and if caught breaking laid down regulations, will be made to face the music, the full rigors of the law.

This is a remarkable departure from the paralysis that gripped previous administrations who were petrified to confront perpetrators of the galamsey menace —- the Chinese, traditional rulers and out of work young men and women eking out a living —albeit a miserable and dangerous one — in the illegal mines.

These are the forces, the dynamics aligned against the movement to bring down galamsey.  The Chinese juggernaut has invaded Africa and is voraciously feeding on the continent’s vast natural resources. Our clean and pristine environment is of less significance to them than riches. They are in Africa to get as much wealth as they can possibly acquire, and damn the consequences.

Enabling the Chinese scavengers are traditional rulers widely viewed as custodians of our rich customs and traditions —but they have sold their souls to the devil by greedily parceling out precious land to the enterprising Chinese to enrich themselves. Don’t expect these people to let go of the goose that lays the golden egg.

Bringing up the rear is the large number of our young men and women who can’t find work anywhere but in the illegal mines. With the unemployment rate among our youth at astronomical heights, the movement against galamsey should expect stiff resistance from these young men and women, their well-heeled sponsors and from those with a political axe to grind.

One wonders why it took Ghanaians so long to react to galamsey, after witnessing firsthand the immense destruction galamsey has wrought on our environment.

Did partisan politics play a part in the slow response we saw in prior years? Why is the press suddenly showing an interest in fighting galamsey?

Given the media frenzy surrounding recent efforts against galamsey, one is compelled to ask: Is it a calculated move by the Ghanaian press to portray the ruling NPP as the only political entity genuinely concerned about galamsey and the attendant destruction of the environment?

Needless to say, the fight against galamsey will be a protracted one, indeed an uphill task that will require commitment from all concerned. Lets face it: it would take a lot to convince the Chinese, the young miners, their sponsors and entrenched vested interests that galamsey is counter productive and a threat to our environment. But the fight against this evil must continue.




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