Galamsey is our source of livelihood -DCE defies Presidential order
Following the massive pollution of our waters and destruction of our forest cover through illegal mining activities, President Akufo-Addo set up the Operation Vanguard taskforce to fight the menace.
Though some successes were achieved during the initial stages, with Rivers Birim and Pra gaining a certain level of cleanness, the turbidity levels of these rivers and others started getting worse as the people went back to push to start doing illegal mining.
There were strong suspicions that people who were in a position to help the President fight the menace, were, themselves, supporting the illegality, but no one could pin any government official supporting the illegal miners.
It has, however, emerged through a video that has gone viral on social media that the District Chief Executive (DCE) for Amansie South, Mr. William Asante Bediako, is one of those supporting the trade.
Speaking at the commissioning of a toilet facility at Tontonkrom recently, he said he had been vilified and disgraced on a number of occasions by his party people on radio that he supports galamsey. Speaking in Twi, which has been translated into English by this reporter, the DCE said: “Why would I not support galamsey? Had it not been galamsey we would not have had a storey building at Manso; had it not been galamsey and hardworking nature of the people of Manso, a youth of Manso would not have been able to purchase a car worth one billion cedis. If some elite like us are jealous of galamsey activities, I, Bediako, is of the opinion that galamsey is the profession of the people of Manso, and that is our source of livelihood.”
He then went ballistic, warning the people who were reportedly protesting against the commissioning of the toilet that they could be shot and killed.
According to him, “Sticks are meant for animals, but guns were manufactured because of human beings. Sticks are to be used on animals, but guns were made because of human beings. Sometimes, authorities give instruction that because of what someone is doing, the person should be shot and killed. When this happens, the issue won’t go anywhere.”
The following is the full translation of his vituperations from Twi into English.
“Nananom, if I am here, this is not the first time. I am here because you extended an invitation to me about the commissioning of the toilet facility.
This is not my official visit to Tontoman; I am now preparing to pay [an] official visit to Tontoman. I am very happy to be here today, because I heard there was a misunderstanding over here this morning, but I told Nananom that they have told me they have completed a project, so I will come for the project to be commissioned. Even if I come and people stab themselves, the project would still be commissioned. That is the reason that brought me here.
Applause from the gathering
Sticks are meant for animals; guns were manufactured because of human beings. Sticks are to be used on animals, but guns were made because of human beings. Sometimes, authorities give instruction that because of what someone is doing, the person should be shot and killed. When this happens, the killing of the person will die a natural death, and if care is not taken, the issue won’t go anywhere. If we shoot and kill you and you are not careful, it won’t go anywhere.
Applause from the gathering.
If you are listening, listen carefully; I am not a coward – My father is a military officer; I was born at the barracks so if you live in Tontokrom, and I do not want to describe your wild attitude you have, but I have wilder attitude than yours.
Guns were manufactured because of human beings, I am telling you. Sticks are to be used on animals, so if you misbehave, we give an instruction where you would be fired with a gun and you will die. You won’t come back to life. I am telling you.
Interjection from the MC: ‘Honourable is talking like a man.’
This is the reason when I heard of a confusion concerning the commissioning of the toilet I told Nananom that if they will not avail themselves for the commissioning of the toilet, I will come for the project to be commissioned.
Maybe you will not be arrested; maybe you would be shot and be killed. If you are not careful you would be shot and killed. This how Tweneboa Kodua and the likes used blood for sacrifice. I think you have not seen anything yet. When we deployed [the] military to Tontokrom, all those who were causing trouble ran away. The soldiers are still around, I live with them.
Why should you always let people know that you people are not peace-loving people? If issues crop up and someone should be called to order, please discipline the person before you call him to my attention.
Interjection from stage manager: ‘Clap for honourable. He has given powers to these authorities.’ Call them to order before you inform me.
I am the only District Chief Executive who is being disgraced on a number of occasions in my own party. On radio, you hear people saying this DCE supports galamsey. Why would I not support galamsey? Had it not been galamsey, we would not have had a storey building at Manso; had it not been galamsey and hardworking nature of the people of Manso, a youth of Manso would not have been able to purchase a car worth one billion cedis.
If some elite like us are jealous of galamsey activities, I, Bediako, is of the opinion that galamsey is the profession of [the] people of Manso, and that is our source of livelihood.
Applause from the gathering as the stage manager interrupts: ‘Honourable, you have nailed it.’
That why sometimes people call me. Sometime ago, you (Tontokrom) approached me about some mining residual stones which they wanted to sold them away, I gave the green light for the stones to be sold away.
I supported the call because the whites have come for the underground gold, much less the end product of the gold. I supported this call, but a time came that some people of Tontokrom stabbed me in the back by insulting me.
How much money did you give me after benefitting from mining? I was happy about this development because my own people of Manso have found jobs to do. I would plead with you; I, Bediako, have never seized excavators of any native of Manso who is engaged in galamsey.
I won’t order for someone to be arrested and killed. I know galamsey has aided someone to be able to cater for his or her ward to complete university. and I am not boasting about this feat. Sometimes if you do not take good care of yourself and you are shot, the issue will die a natural death.”
When The Chronicle reached Mr. Asante Bediako on phone for his comments on the video, he told this reporter, “I cannot talk to you on phone. If you need me, come to my office.”
He asked this reporter what at all he (William Asante Bediako) had done to the media in Ghana to deserve negative publicity.
Going ominous, the Amansie South DCE warned this reporter: “You should be careful because of the way people are destroying me. I speak with passion; be careful if someone is pushing you to do something; what does the person want to achieve? Nobody can destroy me.”
Unfazed by his threats, The Chronicle attempted to book an appointment with the enraged DCE, but he asserted on phone: “You may board a car to Manso and [be] involved in an accident. If this happens, what kind of death have you died?”
Mr. Asante Bediako continued: “This is not the first time I am being interviewed by The Chronicle. I am not afraid of The Chronicle.”
When this reporter further asked him on which day and time to meet him in his office, William Bediako revealed to The Chronicle that he was bereaved and that he is not certain about his movements, but this reporter is welcome because his office is always open to the public.