Editorial: Has Gov’t Lost The Fight Against Illegal Mining?

Polling Station Executives of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the Ahafo-Ano South East community of Sabronum, in the Ashanti region, have according to a story we have published in our today’s edition, threatened to suspend working for the party, ahead of the December General Elections.

The agitations of the polling station executives stem from what they have described as wanton illegal mining activities going on in the district, particularly Sabronum, destroying their only source of drinking water – River Asuonfou, which takes its source from the Kwamisa Forest Reserve.

“We are using this opportunity to inform leadership at Constituency, Regional and National levels of our decision to stay away from all party activities at Sabronum. Together, we can make a difference and ensure a sustainable future for Sabronum”, they said in a statement.

According to the execs, they are expressing their frustration and opposition to the pollution of the only source of drinking water available to the community by galamseyers (illegal miners).

“The Polling station executives of Sabronum are deeply concerned about the ongoing illegal mining activities, also known as galamsey, that are destroying our precious water bodies”, they noted.

The decision to boycott party activities is an internal matter The Chronicle is not interested in getting involved. Our concern is the fundamental issue of illegal mining they have raised, which according to them is destroying their water bodies.

This is a community that does not properly have access to treated water and, in most of the cases, have to rely solely on the stream that had also served their forefathers.

But in the name of mining, a group of people have destroyed this water body and the residents now have no source of drinking water.

This is a serious matter that must not be taken lightly by the authorities concerned. Illegal mining and the accompanying destructive activities have been the pain in the neck of all Ghanaians.

The government in collaboration with the media took the giant steps to fight the menace, but despite setting up various taskforces, the problem still persists.

The situation has been exacerbated by the fact that this year being an election one, all the rules and regulations appear to have been relaxed.

We are no more hearing of soldiers or police invading illegal mining hubs and arresting the perpetrators.

This development has created the wrong impression in the minds of these illegal miners that they can do whatever they want to do because the security agencies are no more chasing them.

As we have always stated in this column, we, as a country, and the government in particular, seem to have underestimated the impact illegal mining is having on this country of ours.

Because those who are supposed to take the decisive actions are staying in Accra, Kumasi, Takoradi and other big towns and cities, where they enjoy treated water, they seem not to care a hoot about the suffering masses are going through in the rural areas.

Today, the people of Sabronum have mustered the courage to come out to tell their story, but there are thousands if not millions of rural dwellers who are also suffering at the hands of illegal miners except that their voices have not yet been heard.

Ghana is a developing country that does not have the resources to provide development projects at every nuke and cranny of this country.

In the case of water supply, most of the rural dwellers rely on these water bodies that are being destroyed through mining.

The big question is; What do we want the people to do when the state cannot provide all their needs?  This is the reason why we earlier stated that we, as a country, have not sat down to analyse the impact of illegal mining.

The fact that we are having elections later this year does not mean licenses have been given to individuals to destroy our environment without any restraint by the government.

The Chronicle is, therefore, appealing to President Akufo-Addo to put his feet down and address the illegal mining conundrum.

We shall surely return to this subject.



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