Galamsey has come to symbolize, unfortunately, the capture of our governance by criminal elements bent on channelling public resources into private hands to our collective detriment.
Recently, the President, His excellency,Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo Addo ( NADAA), has, following allegations by former Minister Prof. Frimpong-Boateng, ordered an investigation into charges that Jubilee House personnel are involved in Galamsey.
Ironically, even while the investigation ordered by the President is on-going, there is a statement from the government seeking to undermine Prof. Frimpong-Boateng and his report.
To begin with, the President’s sudden interest in these allegations is strange.
In 2021, after leaving government, the former Minister delivered a report on Galamsey and the activities of the inter-Ministerial committee that he chaired at the behest of the President to fight Galamsey, to the President through his Chief of Staff. His report was bold, factual, patriotic and forward-looking.
— It recounted the activities of the committee.
— It asserted that directives by the President and Cabinet issued to support the work of the Committee were ignored by government functionaries.
— It stated that those thwarting the work of the Committee, starting with the Senior Minister and including the President’s cousin and family Consigliori, Gabby Otchere-Darko were reported to the President who pledged to deal with them but did nothing.
—It named prominent members of the government and ruling party, the NPP, including those at the Jubilee House who were and are engaged in Galamsey.
Those named are still at post and honored members of society.
Predictably, a network of interested parties have began, not to challenge the substance of the report but to impugn the integrity of the author.
That report, together with the bold and chilling documentary by Joy fm and Erastus Asare Donkor and Kevin Taylor’s recent expose should trouble the conscience of every Ghanaian patriot.
And it has sat on the President’s desk for 2 long years!
We Ghanaians must ask ourselves some important questions.
1: When the President pledged to put his Presidency on the line to fight Galamsey, did he mean it? Did he fight?
2: When the President got this report 2 years ago, what did he do with it?
3: Looking at all that has happened since the President took office, is this President FIGHTING Galamsey or FRONTING for it?
4: Are our security forces enforcing our laws or protecting those breaking our laws and destroying our environment?
5: Are our Members of Parliament committed to protecting our resources from criminals or just seeking concessions to line their pockets?
6: Are our traditional rulers true custodians of our wealth and lands and environment who will protect it for posterity or accomplices of galamseyers who are betraying us like their ancestors did to slave traders and colonialists?
7: It is moral for the cousin of the President, Gabby, to be defending Galamseyers while his cousin has pledged to put his Presidency on the line to fight it?
8: Why is it that whenever our governments come to cross-roads between good and evil, moral Ministers get sacked while corrupt Ministers are retained?
9: Can small-scale mining be done legally without destroying our environment?
My fellow Ghanaians, we must confront this menace before it destroys Ghana.
Here is what we must do.
First the President must personally respond to the damning allegations in the report and give Ghanaians an update on the fight against Galamsey.
Second, our security forces must explain to us what their role has been in Galamsey.
Third, Parliament must begin hearings on where our nation stands in the Galamsey fight. The goal should be to update our laws to protect our environment while permitting legal small-scale mining and carrying out vigorous executive oversight.
Fourth, our traditional rulers must live up to their historic charge to protect our environment for posterity. We cannot watch people drinking dirty water while losing our forest reserves.
Finally, I have heard those spreading rumors that Prof. or his associates were involved in Galamsey. While the truth about that is important, it is a minor point. It is the equivalent of the student who insists on answering the question worth 5% before attempting all the big questions. If proven, his involvement would only underline how big the problem is. In the meantime, while we wait for evidence from those peddling rumors, the Professor has put damning, incontrovertible facts on the table. Lets deal with those.
We, my fellow Ghanaians are the only people who can save Ghana from Galamsey. Let’s get to it. Let’s save our environment, water bodies and forests.
God bless you all and Ghana.
_Arthur Kobina Kennedy_
_( 23rd April, 2023)_