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Feature Article of Monday, 7 January 2013

Columnist: Badu, K.

The Lunatic Fringe of Chinese Immigrants -4

One of the unrecognised, albeit, most deadly evil of modern life’s facets in Ghana is Chinese mass destruction of our rural areas--it is not a hyperbole, it is real. But, disappointingly, the vast majority of Ghanaians are wholly unaware of the behemoth nature of the Chinese invasion, and convivially continue to defend this wicked and dangerous activity,--mass destruction of the rural areas. Of course, to constantly speak against what most Ghanaians perceive as innocuous venture as Chinese invasion of the rural areas is to be regarded as a fanatic, or even as sacrilegious, but we must be true to the faith-- ‘uphold and defend the good name of Ghana’!

We cannot continue to show blithe ignorance of the seriousness of the situation. The Chinese menace is real, thus, it is incumbent upon the leadership of Ghana to take a leading role in combating such menace. Why do we need leadership in Ghana if it cannot ‘hold in high esteem the heritage won for us through the blood and toil of our Forefathers? You have pledged to uphold and defend the good name of Ghana, so show it!

I am not seeking to hyperbolize the true picture of the situation, for, a moment’s reflection by any serious and committed leadership will acknowledge exactly why the Chinese illegal activities in our rural areas must be thwarted without delay. Why should any serious leadership allow foreign invaders to destroy the livelihoods of its rural dwellers? This is an eyesore, and should not happen in any serious nation.

It is in the light of this that I am urging the government of Ghana to provide urgency and afflatus, and, thereby redeeming its image. As a matter of fact, a number of institutions are not pulling their weights in this instance. The questions many discerning Ghanaians are asking: Who gave the Chinese immigrants visas to come to Ghana, and on what basis were the visas granted?”

“Second, who granted the Chinese immigrants with the mining concessions, if they have one?”

“Third, where are the chiefs, DCEs, Assemblymen and women, the District Assemblies and the police in these affected areas?”

“Fourth, hasn't the central government heard the cries of our innocent brothers and sisters in these areas”?

Read a Chinese commentator who shudders to think that it would be extremely difficult to curb the Chinese immigrant’s illegal mining in Ghana. The Chinese commentator writes: “Chinese embassy in Ghana has been detached from the Chinese illegal miners into the country, most of whom entered Ghana illegally. However, Beijing has been increasingly concerned of its citizens' safety and treatment disregard of whether they entered the border legally.”

“Ghanaian government should be held responsible for not cracking down the illegal immigration and illegal mining activities. However, the Ghanaian government may be ambivalent to raid the illegal Chinese miners in the country because recently too many big deals were signed between the two governments, for instance, the US$3bn loans for infrastructure building and the new regional airline co-invested by HNA Group and CAD Fund.”

“However, one piece of information was missing when talking about whether Ghanaian government should be held accountable to halt illegal mining activities by Chinese immigrants. The government power of enforcement of laws in Ghanaian hinterland is extremely weak for two reasons: first, the law enforcers tend to be satisfied with bribes. Chinese illegal immigrants are good at settling cases with a lot of cash in Africa.”

“Second, if the Chinese illegal miners can make deal with local chiefs on contributing certain shares of gold being unearthed, the miners can sustain their unlawful activities with local protection each time they face inspection by the officials from Accra. How could government then crack down those activities easily?”

“I chatted with an environment protection official in Ghana and he can only condemn these activities but can't really provide a long-term solution. In my opinion, this issue is not unsolvable. Both China and Ghana are concerned about illegal gold mining activities led by the Chinese in Ghana. Beijing does not want its image in Africa to be tarnished with the illegal Chinese immigrants, and Accra of course want to protect its natural resources and environment. I don't know what kind of bilateral deals can be made because I am not working in a government, but a long-term collaboration has its sturdy ground here to curb illegal Chinese mining activities in Ghana.”

Over to you Mr. President, Ghana Immigration Service, Ghana Minerals Commission, Security Services, Ghana House of Chiefs and all discerning Ghanaians ; wake up and ‘uphold and defend the good name of Ghana!

K. Badu, UK.

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