The galamsey menace is one problem bedeviling this nation that must be handled devoid of unnecessary partisan obstructions.
I have already commended the sitting President for his determination on forthrightness so far to end the practice.That notwithstanding, what the assurance the President gave to these illegal miners during his campaign, vis-à-vis the resistance his task force is receiving from the illegal miners, must be a guide for all politicians whenever they mount campaign platforms. Government has deplored 400 security men made up of personnel of the armed forces and the police to the mining communities to curb activities of these miners and we have started hearing incidents of clashes between the miners and the security personnel. This is what has necessitated the above question.
The basic truth is that, their (galamseyers) livelihood depend on this illegal business hence the need fashion out a well designed approach to avoid the horrible stories we hearing.
This is not the first time a government has embarked on this anti galamsey fight. The irony is that, the past regimes did not receive the kind of support this government is enjoying. President Mahama, inaugurated an inter – ministerial task force to curb activities of illegal miners across the country. Before the inauguration, the former president, on many occasions spoke publicly about the dangers of the practice. His opponents emboldened the illegal miners with the assurance that, the Npp will offer them protection to carry on with their activities if elected into office. The inter ministerial task force adopted similar approach which was vehemently condemned by the opposition and its allies. The media was silent on this noble project but rather, offered their platforms to some lawyers and social commentators to preach human right sermons. Recently I visited my hometown (Abommosu) and listening the folks there, I got the understanding that the practice has taken a more dangerous dimension than being discussed in the media and other platforms. I knew government will meet this tough resistance from the illegal miners because of what I personally gathered from the illegal miners during the campaign. The assurance the opposition (Npp) had given them, incited them strongly against President Mahama and were not ready to listen to the prudent policies the former administration had outlined to curb what we witnessing today.At Akwatia, the miners said, they’ve been promised new excavators to support their operations when Nana wins to become the President. This was how deep the miners were indoctrinated by the Npp. They contributed financially to the npp campaign with the expectation that, they were going to continue the environmental degradation activities when Npp takes over. Whenever I hear or watch the President Nana Akufo-Addo reiterate his resolve to fight the canker, I just bow to him but did Mahama receive same genuine support when he embarked on same project?
Subject to subsection (1) PNDCL 218 and (2) of section 75 of the minerals and mining Law, 1986( PNDC 153) and amended Act 2006 (Act 703), ” no licence for small scale gold mining operation shall be granted to any person who is not a citizen of Ghana. The Mahama administration began its anti illegal mining operation from this point.The administration targeted the main problem which is, identifying the Ghanaians who were bringing the Chinese and other foreigners to Ghana and this was the assurance he gave the nation “I am going to support the security task force working to clear the miners, and I want to warn those foreigners and their local collaborators that we are going to chase them out”
President Mahama did not approach the fight without looking at an alternative livelihood programme to earn those to be affected, a decent livelihood.His alternative livelihood programme included using his YES concept and other initiatives to offer alternative job for the over 400,000 youth involved in the business. Different modules were conceptualised under the YES programme to offer absorb the youth. The alternative policy the previous administration designed to curb the menace, also included restructuring and modification of Small Scale mining activities to serve as decent source of employment for the youth and a bill was introduced in parliament to modify small scale mining laws.
I think this must be the approach than the use of brutish force on the miners whose livelihood and survival depend on the galamsey. When the last administration’s inter ministerial seized excavators the miners where using to destroy the environment, he heard people attack government for infringing on the fundamental human right of the miners. Why are they quiet this time? This time, government is not only seizing the equipments, but settling them ablaze