Editorial: Politicians should be involved in the Galamsey fight

The devastating effects of the dreadful menace of illegal mining in Ghana, also known as galamsey, cannot be over emphasised.

Huge hectares of land and several rivers have been destroyed, and most pathetic of all is how efforts by Ghana Water Company to produce safe drinking water has fallen into the abyss because of galamsey.

The water company says illegal mining activities have become an impediment to their work, as it is burdened by huge sums of money spent on chemicals to treat high turbidity levels of raw water.

They say Ghana may have to import water soon, should galamsey continue to destroy our water bodies—it will be such a shameful situation if it happens.

As if that were not enough, we are told that Ghana’s once-coveted cocoa may be rejected by the global market. When that happens, we do not think Ghanaians will describe the rejection as a slap in the face, because we brought it onto ourselves.

The Chronicle observes with sadness the rate at which people are selling cocoa farms to illegal miners, who destroy both the crops and the land. We are not surprised that our neighbour, Cote d’Ivoire, has suddenly overtaken us in cocoa production.

On Monday, the Ghana Cocobod signed a $1.3 billion syndicated loan with international banks to finance purchases for the upcoming season this month. These dollars are coming in the midst of the free fall of the Ghana cedi.

Among others, the Central Bank shores up the country’s foreign exchange reserves with these cocoa syndicated loans by receiving the dollars and paying farmers the cedi equivalent.

There is no gainsaying the effort by the Bank of Ghana will be zilch, because there will be no cocoa to borrow the dollars to purchase, if the cocoa lands are destroyed at this rate.

The Chronicle acknowledges the fight the government has put up since assuming office, though the administration admits the same has not yielded the expected outcome.

Yesterday, President Akufo-Addo met with the National House of Chiefs and solicited support for the fight against illegal mining. His argument was that the chiefs owned 80% of all lands and he, the President, had 20% in trust for the people through acquisition.

The President said in his address that the fight can only succeed if it is a truly national battle, which no one seeks to exploit for political gain.

Much as we agree with the President in principle, we beg to clear our thoughts that the political angle does not mean the collaboration would shy away from politicians. If our debatable assumption is the case, we will implore the President to give it a second thought.

We would be glad to see a collaboration involving politicians, especially from the opposing sides. Political parties have a large following in the traditional areas of these chiefs, especially where galamsey is rampant, and as much as the residents respect and obey their chiefs, those in politics revere their political leaders.

There have been suspicions that politicians, both in power and opposition, are involved in illegal mining. If the government is able to check these political leaders to understand that galamsey is terrorising the nation and, therefore, needs every patriotic citizen to help so that the expected result will be achieved.

We base our advocacy on the 2020 election campaign, where some party officials were seen on video making statements that were in obvious contrast to the government’s fight against illegal mining.

It is instructive that we emphasise again that The Chronicle supports the government’s fight against galamsey, evidenced by the huge publicity the paper gives to the efforts.

However, we want to urge the government to use the same Nananom he believes can help to end the fight, to convince heads of political parties to join government’s efforts, devoid of their political interests.

We are optimistic that if the political party leaders are actively and openly collaborating with the government and Nananom, their supporters, just like the subjects of these chiefs, would obey the party leaders not to engage in galamsey.

The fight against galamsey needs all Ghanaians on board.


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