The Ghanaianproverb above, which states (in full) that if you kill a
snake and you don’t cut off its head, then you haven’t really killed
it at all, is a warning by our ancestors against carrying out half
measures. You will see its relevance when you reaad this article to
Now. I have been asked whether it was ‘democratic’ for the security
detail of the President, Nana Addo DankwaAkufo-Addo, to prevent a
Ghanaian student. in the US from entering a hall where the President
was addressing a public meeting.
The question ignores a truism about modern statecraft. A President’s
security detail are trained to protect the President AT ALL COSTS.
Thus, if they determine that an individual is obsessively pursuing
the President = and apparently, this chap in the US had followed the
President from one college to another one elsewhere — they cannot
make assumptions about his motives. Sure, the US is one of the most
democratic countries in the word. But it is also the country where
two very popular Presidents, Abraham Lincoln and John F Kennedy, were
taken out by hostile elements.
It has also been suggested that whilst in the US, the President
should not have admitted that it had been a”mistake” for his
Government to deport Aisha Huang, the Chinese “galamsey queen” whose
trial was halted midway whilst it was taking place in Accra.
Again, the question is a moot one: Government decisions usually arise
from an exercise of options. That’s why some arrested spies are
allowed to return to their countries without being executed (for
example) although most countries prescribe the death penalty for
espionage. Sometimes, exercising an option obliges one to carry out a
“Hobson’s choice”. But it has to be done,
As for admitting a “mistake”, it must be recognised that only really
“big” people can engage in that. Only an untutored mind can
imagine that every Cabinet would always unite in action, or in
pursuing policy. Debate and compromise are the bread and butter of
politics at the highest level and mistakes often get into the mix. To
admit that a mistake has occurred is therefore to acknowledge being
If we are humble enough to look inwards into our own lives, there is
no way we cannot find human weaknesses. It should therefore not be
surprising to find similar weaknesses in our fellow humans. If they
admit – in hindsight – hat they had been wrong, we should applaud
them for being big enough to admit their mistakes, and not criticise
them. Of course, if the same mistake is repeated again and again, then
something is seriously wrong.
Our Government has an opportunity to demonstrate to all and sundry
that it will not mortgage the continued existence of Ghana’s
water-bodies to any person or country. It was extremely outrageous to
read that a few days after the President had made strong public
statements extolling the passing into law of the Minerals and Mining
Amendment Act, 2019, TWENTY Chinese nationals had been arrested in
different raids at Mpohor and Prestea Huni-Valley, in the Western
Region. Two other Chinese nationals were also arrested at Ntibroso in
the AtwimaMponua district.
Excavators, generators, and water-pumps were seized from the arrested
persons, which makes it quite clear that they were engaged in
galamsey. More disturbing was the seizure of pump-action guns and
ammunition. I have asked before and I ask again: against whom at all
were these guns meant to be used, in a country which has specifically
established “task forces” to arrest illegal miners? Are the members of
”Operation Vanguard” supposed to be bullet-proof? Yet mention Chinese
involvement in galamsey and some persons in influential positions in
our country lose all sense of these realities that confront us.
The presence of the guns should put paid to the argument that the
Chinese nationals are only the technical advisors of Ghanaian
galamseyers. No adult who is prepared to wield deadly guns to resist
arrest can deny his guilt. If one were engaged in a lawful
enterprise, why would one need to be armed?
There were laws against the illegal possession of arms in this country
before the recent amendment prescribing mandatory minimum prison
sentences forgalamseyers was enacted, But I can’t remember any
Chinese or Ghanaian galamsey operator appearing before a court
specifically on a charge of illegal possession of firearms.
Obviously, the police and our prosecution service have been
“laundering” galamsey offences before arraigning galamseyers before
Many people suspect that the prosecuting authorities have been doing
this because they take money from the galamseyers and their sponsors.
But they could equally well be going soft on the galamseyers for
political reasons, both at the internal and external levels. Well, the
Government has now shown the galamseyers a mailed fist. The President
has denounced the ineffectiveness of our law enforcement institutions
as stemming from institutional “delinquency” and it is up to them to
demonstrate that they want to redeem their image,
The Ministers of the Interior and of Justice, in particular, must
realise that they are in the firing line , when it comes to the
President’s endeavour to rid the country of institutional
“delinquency”. For the power of the judiciary to frustrate the
objectives of the Government, with regard to galamsey, has been deftly
removed by the enactment of the Minerals and Mining Amendment Act.
So, if galamsey does not now cease, we shall know exactly who is
responsible for the failure.
In this connection, I would like to reiterate something that I said in
my article, entitled: “LAWS ARE MERE WORDS WRITTEN ON PAPER” (The
Ghanaian Times 17 September 2019): namely, that court cases can serve
as a means of educating the public. If I were the Attorney-General and
Minister of Justice, I would go to court myself to prosecute the 20
Chinese arrested on Friday, 13th September 2019.
I would insist on the police giving me all the facts of the case,
from which I would construct a narrative that is simple and clear, and
which would be streamed on live television. GBCTV would be advised to
play the tape quite often. This used to be the practice carried out by
President Kwame Nkrumah’s Attorney-General, MrBashiruKwaw-Swanzy,
and it was most effective in educating the public on sensitive
offences, such as treason.
It should be emulated, for galamsey is, essentially, treason
against Ghana’s unborn generations and should be treated exactly as if
it were treason against our current dispensation.