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General News of Thursday, 20 October 2016


‘No galamsey, no vote’ threats: MP calls miners’ bluff

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The threats by illegal miners at Obuasi not to vote in December’s presidential and parliamentary polls if they are not allowed to resume their mining activities in the municipality do not hold up since most of them are strangers, hence do not vote in the area, Edward Ennin, Deputy Ranking Member on parliament’s Select Committee on Energy and Mines, has said.

According to him, those making the threats make up an insignificant proportion of the voting population in the area, implying they cannot have any bearing on the poll results.

On Wednesday October 19, about 200 irate youth, believed to be illegal miners in the Obuasi East municipality of the Ashanti Region vandalised the offices of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) amidst chants of “no galamsey, no votes”.

They destroyed windows, TV decoders, billboards, plastic chairs, and other properties they could lay hands on at the premises of the NDC’s Obuasi office.

Other parties also have offices within the same precincts but the angry youth spared those sites.

The Municipal Chief Executive, Richard Ofori Boadi Agyemang, confirmed the vandalism and said additional security measures were being taken to forestall further vandalism.

He explained that the youth were angry over a recent quit order given to them by the Minerals Commission in connection with their activities in the AngloGold Ashanti concession in the area.

The miners were to vacate the concession immediately or be forced out by Monday, 10 October, 2016.

But speaking in an interview with Chief Jerry Forson, host of Ghana Yensom on Accra100.5FM on Thursday October 20 in connection with the matter, Mr Ennin, who is also the Member of Parliament for Obuasi East, said: “They have seen that in Ghana some governments are very weak. Most of these galamseyers are strangers, they don’t even vote in Obuasi.

“Even if all of them are to vote they are not more than 0.01 per cent of the voting population, and so if you are a government, you weigh both sides – you are losing income, which is going against you seriously, and these galamseyers. Which one do you go for? Which one will you choose?

"No vote? It is not these galamseyers who vote. Even if they don’t vote, others will. When you come to Obuasi, those who vote in Obuasi West alone are about 55, 000, East is close to 44,000, the galamseyers are not up to 0.01 per cent. So it means you have more people there who will vote and who will decide and those more people there you see are the ones who are for the mine, they want the mine to come so that they will get jobs to do, so that there will be more money in their pockets. And so compare the two and choose for us to know if you are a good or bad leader.”