“IF YOU ‘KILL’ A SNAKE AND YOU DON’T CUT 0FF ITS HEAD….”

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

the end.

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

human.  Inevitably.

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

the courts.

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.

        By  CAMERONDUODU

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