Victory in galamsey war imperative

On assuming power in 2017, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo declared war against illegal mining, otherwise known as galamsey.

The war followed the devastation caused by galamsey such as massive river pollution and destruction of arable lands, farms, cocoa plantations and forest reserves.

Ever since 2017, the President has not minced words about the fight against galamsey; neither has he relented in putting together the human resource and the logistics as well as garnering the support necessary to achieve his vision.

President Akufo-Addo has gained some support, particularly that of the media, his ministers and some other people but the evil activities of the galamseyers, comprising both Ghanaians and foreigners, go on unabated.

It is an open secret that some people, particularly politicians, are giving tacit push to the galamseyers.

Some chiefs of the Ashanti Region have not minced words about this as they have accused politicians and other state officials of granting permits to miners whose activities destroy water bodies, forest reserves and their food and cash crop farms.

That state of affairs shows that the galamsey war cannot be fought by the government alone but the whole nation.

This is why the appeal by the Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, George Mireku Duker, to political and traditional authorities to help fight galamsey must be taken seriously.

It is now the case in this country that some supporters of political parties listen to their leaders more than chiefs and other traditional leaders and even the government, if their party is in opposition.

The appeal, if heeded, would therefore bring on board every citizen, whether he pays allegiance to political parties or traditional leadership or both.

The Ghanaian Times fully supports such an appeal but wishes to call attention to one or two related issues.

Anyone, politician, traditional leader or otherwise, should remember that just as our forebears bequeathed to us the land we live on now, we too have it a duty to preserve the country as safe as possible for posterity.

It is unfortunate that the happenings of today, including wanton degradation of the environment, show in all respects that some members of this generation do not care that generations will come after us.

Against that background, the Ghanaian Times appeals to the frontline stakeholders — the government, parties in opposition, traditional leaders, Forestry Commission, the security services, the media and the Ghana Chamber of Mines — to play their various relevant roles to help win the fight against galamsey.

The call on people to report illegal mining activities in their localities is a good one but such ‘whistle blowers’ must be assured of protection against the cruel reactions of galamseyers.

Once the government itself accepts that the war against galamsey should not be mere words of mouth but action, it should make good all its initiatives so together with the support of other stakeholders, the war could be won.

That victory should be seen as imperative because it is needed to preserve a country with a healthy environment that gives assurance of clean water bodies, forest reserves and farmlands among other resources and all their benefits for future generations.

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