IS THIS A JOKE?
“Branded vehicle of Asanteman task force against illegal mining pops up” Citi (Newsroom by Citi Newsroom March 17, 2023)
OF COURSE, the above headline naturally caught my eye. Beneath it, I read the following:
“A branded vehicle of the Asanteman Task Force Against Illegal Mining has surfaced on social media.The vehicle, a Toyota Double Cabin pick up with registration number GN 8818-20, also has the inscription, Ghana Responsible Gold Mining Summit, and a beautiful picture of the Asantehene, His Majesty Otumfuo Osei Tutu II.
“Otumfuo Osei Tutu II has been at the forefront of the quest to root out illegal small scale mining (galamsey) from the country. He has declared 2023 an action year, as he moves to protect lands and water bodies in his Kingdom from the activities of illegal miners. The Task Force will be playing a major role in this, and also other anti-illegal mining activities in the coming years.
“To demonstrate his determination to tackle the illegal mining menace head-on, His Majesty has warned chiefs under his authority that any of them whose lands and rivers have been destroyed by illegal miners would be summoned for questioning, and anyone who fails to provide reasonable explanation will be sanctioned to serve as a deterrent to others.”
To the ears of patriotic Ghanaians who do not want our authorities to sit down with their arms folded whilst our water-bodies are killed off by galamsey operators, this sounds like music.
However, there was something about the report that experienced news hounds would, no doubt, find puzzling. Was the “Task Force” project an official one established by Otumfuo, the Asantehene?
If so, why should it be announced to the public in such an obscure manner as that shown above?
Why should such na ground-breaking annoujcement be made to appear like something clubbed together on social media?
Social media is well known to be the source of much “fake news”. Is the Manhyia Palace so unaware of this that it would leak such an important piece of news to social media?
I do not know the answers to these questions. And that disturbs me. For there has been so much posturing and dishonesty about Ghana’s approach to the galamsey menace that there should be no room for further confusion about what should be done t end the menace.
Is the above news item the work of a galamsey promoter who has heard that the Otumfuo intends to act agaistgalamsey, and so wants to short-circuit the idea with a premature leakage?
I can only pray that the item is, in any case, not a premature “April Fool’s joke”. If it was a joke, it is in very bad taste. For it could create unnecessary complications in relations between the Central Government and Manhyia Palace. Those relations have so far been cordial. And they should continue to be so.
For the Central Government needs all the help it can get to smoke out galamsey. And the last thing anyone like Otumfuo should want to do is to provide the Central Government with an opportunity to smother any efforts to save Ghana from galamsey.
As the case is, the story has created a Public Relations problem. If it is true, why shouldn’t the Palace outdoor the Task Force officially? There is nothing wrong with the idea, in my opoinion,
In fact, there is EVERYTHING RIGHT WITH IT, and the impression should not be created that there is something “sneaky” about it. Putting it out in the pubklic domain to seek a “reaction”. is not appropriate in such a patriotic effort, in my view.
For let’s not make any bones about it, the history of our attempts to stamp out galamksey have been quite abysmal. That’s because galamseyoperrations bring money to a lot of people, and money and political shenanigans usually go together.
Remember this? Our former President, Mr John Mahama, established a “Task Force” (!) aganstgalamsey. But then, he shot down his own idea by publoiclycriticisinjg the body in charge of the “Task Force” (the armed frorces), for using ” very brutal” methods in dealing with thse engaged in galamsey, whom he described as people “just trying to earn a living”
The armed frorces had not — of course — asked to be allowed to carry out anti-galamsey operations. It is their duty to take orders from the constituted authority of the land. So, of course, when they realised that the civilian authority that had tasked them to carry out anti-galamsey operations did not REALLY have its heart in it, they quietly abandoned the project.
The President who replaced Mr Mahama, Nana Addo DankwaAkufo-Addo, went even further Setting up a “Task Force” (1) called “Operation Vanguard”, he stated that he knew its operations aganstgaloamsey COULD LOSE HIM VOTES, but he would carry on fighting gaamsey, even if it cost him his “presidency”.
Hpwever, powerful pecople in his own camp were determined — and knew how to execute their determination — to sabotage the anti-gamasley campaign from WITHIN. So, although the “Task Focre” went through several transformations, galamsey has continued and has steadily got worse.
Today, many important organisations — such as our water company and the Cocobod — have been issuing warnings against the DISATROUS effects of galamsey. Only last week, the Government of the Ivory Coast sednt a delegation to warn our Government (AGAIN!) that galamsey was poisoninjg some of the water-bodies which the Ivory Coast shares with Ghana.
Under the circumstances, it is the DUTY of anyone who can assist the Central Government to end galamsey not to hesitate in any manner whatsoever, but to go full steam ahead and put in his oar.
Now, our traditional rulers do have methodologies — lnherited from their illustrious ancestors — which can guide them. For the ancestors were adept at taking action to ensure the survival of their communities from existential threats, such as the shortage of water and/or food.
Our ancient methods of survival were largely based on mass psychology, which some moderners misread as superstition. For instance, in trying to end galamsey, our rural communities scan use MASS ACTION, or Asafo dwuma instead of FIRE POWER.
If masses of villagers patrol their own rivers and streams on a daily basis, hiding in the bush like ghosts and dwarfs, and keep doing so in shifts, they would make it risky for galamseyers to go into their rivers, streams and farms to mine gold.
If the Central Government’s legal officials refused to ptosecute and punish arrested galamseyers, the latter shiuld be handed to their own traditional rulers, to be paraded in pubklic, shamed and ostracised.
And so on. I am sure many rural communities possess rulers who know of such methods, or sages who can teach advise their communities how to deal effectively with galamseyers without infringing the laws of the Central Government.
We are talkiing BRAIN POWER here. So please Asanteman Task Force, if you do exist, mind your sense of protocol!
Don’t allow a great idea to be killed off by double-talking, greedy individuals, just because you jumped the gunA!
#m in crisscross the party-political and socio-economic tterrains, doubhke-talk and inhternalsabotagte have dogged the Central Government’s efforts to arrest the growth of the canker.
BY CAMERON DUODU