The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has stated that the government is not committed to combating illegal mining, popularly known as ‘galamsey’, which has plagued the country.
In the view of the opposition party, the current arrangement to end the menace which has left water bodies polluted, farm lands degraded and forests depleted, is a ploy allegedly to allow New Patriotic Party members engage in the trade.
“We in the NDC have maintained that as far as we are concerned and as the evidence bears us out, the government has not exhibited any genuine commitment to fight illegal mining.
“Their so called fight against galamsey is nothing but a scam. We have always held that the single most important thing needed to wage a successful war against illegal mining is the political will of duty bearers to confront the menace and all the dark forces fuelling it regardless of whose ox is gored.
“It has been clear to us from day one that behind the facade of the so called galamsey fight of the government, is a well crafted ruse designed to appropriate the illicit galamsey trade for party members and the higher ups in the government and their foreign collaborators,” Communications Officer of the party, Sammy Gyamfi, told a news conference in Accra yesterday.
The verdict of the NDC comes on the back of the President meeting the National House of Chiefs and Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) in Kumasi on Wednesday over the alarming rate of galamsey in the country and its effect on water bodies and forests.
In that meeting, the President called for collaboration between the chieftaincy institution and to “seek your assistance to take partisan political interests out of the fight against galamsey. It can only succeed if it is a truly national battle, which no one seeks to exploit for political gain, as we saw in the last election.”
“Let us work together to get rid of this menace. I believe that if the people of Ghana see a determined effort on our part, which yields results, our water bodies are clearing, our lands are being reclaimed, and our forest zones are being preserved, it will help them to enable us break the eight”, the President said.
Evidence, Sammy Gyamfi said, abound of state-backed complicity, active participation, and sometimes “clear aiding and abetment” of illegal mining by party members and government officials trusted with responsibility of protecting the environment.
According to Sammy Gyamfi, the illegal mining menace has gotten out of hand in 13 of the 16 regions of the country; a clear testament that “the fight is lost”.
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI