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General News of Tuesday, 18 July 2017


Akufo-Addo 'uncertain' of ending galamsey; says government will only 'try'

President Akufo-Addo has revealed that his government is unsure of when it will end illegal small-scale mining popularly called galamsey, which has destroyed lots of the country’s water bodies and continues to wreak havoc to the environment.

Short of openly giving-up on the three month-old fight against the menace, President Akufo-Addo last week helplessly told his audience, made up of chiefs and traditional rulers, at a forum against illegal mining that, his government will try to end the roundly condemned environmental challenge.

Educating participants at the forum on the mandates of an anti-galamsey taskforce constituted by government to draw up a plan on how to end the menace, the President said “… so it’s a package; it’s a package that we have designed to TRY and bring this menace to a conclusion”.

The President’s present stance on the issue is in contrast with his boisterous commitment to end galamsey even if that will lead to his party’s defeat in the next presidential election in 2020.

Perhaps, having realized he goofed when he said his government was unsure when to end galamsey, President Akufo-Addo quickly turned to play on the conscience of participants with his pledge to put his presidency on the line to fights the galamsey menace.

Drawing applauds from participants, the President said “I have said in Cabinet, and perhaps this is the first time I’ll be saying it in public, I’m prepared to put my presidency on the line on this matter”.

He said if there is one right thing to be done, that thing is for all to fight galamsey, reclaim the lands and leave for posterity a “green country” and a “clean space.”

According to him, while he understands that the difficult economic situations in the country sometimes drive people to all length just to survive, he said the country cannot sit aloof when its heritage is being plundered.

"We all know that we have been in difficult times and times like these there is need to keep body and soul together. Every man has a duty to provide for the family and sometimes use every means possible.

"But there are things we can’t just allow to happen and one of them is the abuse of our heritage," he reminded.

Ghana’s future is in a limbo with a huge chunk of its environment under-siege from boisterous young men and women who are digging every inch of space in mineral rich areas of Ghana in search of gold, diamond etc.

They have polluted many rivers, cut down many trees, and destroyed many farms all in search of gold.

These miners are mostly funded by influential kingpins. Their activities are threatening the very survival of the country, leaving the government no choice but to declare war on galamsey.

Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu, who has earlier been leading a ruthless crusade to weed out the canker has in recent time, seemed to have gone into hibernation after the Akufo-Addo administration bagged a $19 billion dollar facility from the Chinese government.

This development, some say, has forced the President to change his stance on the fight against galamsey to have now resorted to saying his government will only try its best to end the menace.

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