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Entertainment of Thursday, 4 May 2017

Source: Myjoyonline.com

Singing about galamsey won’t stop menace - Amandzeba

In an obvious response to the calls on musicians to join the crusade against illegal mining, prolific highlife singer Nat Brew, also known as Amandzeba, has said creative artistes cannot do the work of government.

Musicians in the country have come under massive pressure from entertainment critics and analysts for failing to propel the anti-galamsey campaign by composing songs that speak to this germane matter.

To many, this is another indication of how the Musician Union of Ghana (MUSIGA) is gradually losing its relevance as a major stakeholder in public discourse.

If one would recall, in the run-up to the December 2016 general elections some of these musicians did not only compose peace songs but boldly declared support and even made songs for some political parties.

Speaking to JoyNews’ MzGee, Amandzeba explained that ‘it is not the preserve of cultural activist like me and others to make the entire nation be aware of what is happening, the damage that we are causing the environment… We have to focus on the politicians who are leading us’.

This according to him is because not only are these politicians the ones perpetuating the illegality, they also wield the political power to enforce the laws, something he vehemently believes they have failed to do.

“We hear policies coming out every day but enforcement is the problem, I can sing about the environment but I cannot enforce the laws,” he lamented.

He further accused political players in the country as those behind the
illegal mining activities which is destroying water bodies and lands.

“We are losing focus. How many musicians or cultural practitioners have you heard owning pieces of lands in galamsey areas?” he queried.

He however did not mince words about the negative effects of galamsey insisting it is a sign that many in Ghana have now lost the cultural and religious values and proper orientation of their forebears.

"Galamsey has deepened my conviction that we are a people who do not care a hoot about what God has given us. It is soo pathetic to see us going to church every Sunday to sing and tell God to protect us whilst we are destroying the environment.”

The man, who actively campaigned for ex-president John Mahama and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the last elections, parried the idea that he is now a political actor who cares less about the environment insisting he had “sung a song about the destruction of the environment some six years ago” when pushed for details of this song, he however admitted that it was not solely themed around the current galamsey menace.

He also opined that the issue of galamsey “boils down to politics” and that “it’s a failure of leadership to help us in this situation and then at the same time think that a song or two will help them.”

He charged the Akufo-Addo administration to be up and doing and nib galamsey in the bud once and for all maintaining that “People who have taken it upon themselves to solve our problems must be seen to be working and not compounding the problems or shirking their responsibility.”

He was quick to add that the just as government admits and is seeking alternative livelihoods for the illegal miners, there is the need to make sure opportunities abound in Ghana so that the teeming youth can take advantage of that and not be compelled to resort to galamsey to make a living.

“If everybody is gainfully employed and people carve niches for themselves and make ends meet, they won’t destroy the environment,” he concluded.