Editorial: Joyce Bawa-Mogtari Hit Below The Belt

A Special Aide to former President John Mahama, Madam Joyce Bawa-Mogtari, is quoted by myjoyonline.com as saying that the next Mahama government will look into granting amnesty to alleged illegal miners awaiting prosecution in jail and some convicted miners.

According to her, it is unfair that foreign nationals and government appointees implicated in the Professor FrimgpongBoateng report on illegal mining have been left off the hook, while the Ghanaian with no voice suffer.

“If there are many of our brothers and sisters languishing in prisons because of illegal mining, certainly this is a matter that we must look at, within the context of the Frimpong Boateng Report, within the context of the corruption that has engulfed Akufo-Addo and his government, within the context of the allegations which Mr Mahama has pledged to investigate and prosecute where possible,” she said.

Joyce Bawa-Mogtari said if people are being bandied together and thrown into prison without necessarily going before the law, and in some cases wait years for trial, there need to be an investigation into it, for some interventions to be employed.

It is an undisputable fact that some Ghanaians are not happy with the way indigenous illegal miners are arrested ad thrown into jail, whilst their foreign counterparts, especially the Chinese, are pampered when they commit the same offence.

Though some foreigners, including Chinese, have been arrested, tried and sentenced to various prison terms after being found guilty, people still think that is not enough, as hundreds of these foreigners are found in our forest reserves doing illegal mining, but they are not arrested.

Beside this, most of the Ghanaian illegal miners who are languishing in jail may not be the real culprits. Most of these boys cannot afford the price of excavators and other mining equipment which they use in their destructive business. They are certainly being financed by people living in towns and cities and have the financial wherewithal. But instead of probing deeper to expose these financiers, theboys who are in the forests destroying the environment are arrested and jailed.

The Chronicle, therefore, agrees with Mrs Mogtari that the laws are not being fairly applied.  These poor boys who are languishing in jail are there because they have no big men to defend them. But whilst admitting to this bare-fact, it is equally repugnant for Mrs Mogtari to state publicly that the next John Mahama government will grant amnesty to all those serving various jail terms for indulging in illegal mining.

This reckless statement has obviously confirmed the positions of many Ghanaians that the fight against illegal mining has been politicised. Nation wreckers have gone into forest reserves, destroying not only our environment, but the water bodies as well.

However, instead of Mr John Mahama’s spokesperson condemning this bad conduct that is threatening the very survival of humanity, she is only interested in the votes that her party will get.

In our view, any attempt to release illegal miners from jail on political grounds will open the floodgate for the miners to entirely destroy our environment. We should not gloss over the fact that every human being needs water to survive and if the water bodies are being destroyed for pecuniary gains, what happens to our next generation?  We insist that galamsey issues should not be politicised or sacrificed for votes, otherwise we are all doomed as a country.


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