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Opinions of Wednesday, 26 February 2020

Columnist: Kwabia Owusu-Mensah

Fighting illegal mining: An appeal to Otumfuo to step in


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It is now clear that political action alone cannot end the illegal mining (galamsey), activities currently wreaking havoc on the country’s water bodies, land and forest.

This is because they have now turned this sensitive issue, which is the core of the survival of the present and future generations to a political game, and playing it to their whims and caprices to score cheap political gains.

Background

Campaign against illegal mining has now become an issue to either win or lose elections, or who has done well and who has failed.

This has become so, because citizens have failed to support the fight.

“We are all aware of the devastation illegal mining is causing to our environment, destroying water bodies, forest reserves, the soil and its biodiversity, food production and other adverse climatic conditions in the country, yet we seem not to care.”

Though there have been lamentations everyday on the harmful effects of illegal mining, it has been complicit because it has benefited perpetrators.

Perpetrators

The truth must be told that brothers and sisters, parents, uncles, friends, husbands and wives, school mates, church members, chiefs, representatives, benefactors, assembly members, church elders and others, are deeply engaged in the activity and their booty in one way or the other had benefited relatives and friends.

The generation has failed to understand that the environment is the source of survival and its destruction will spell doom for all.

It is important to note that no political leader can win the fight against illegal mining without the active and tacit support of the very people the leader is fighting for.

Can he use all the state military might to arrest and kill all illegal miners? No.

Can he establish military camps and bases in all mining communities? No. What about ceasing and destroying all mining equipment? No. No President can do this without unflinching support from the people.

So if political solutions fail what can we do? Should we throw our arms in despair and look on for these illegal activities to continue? No.

Writer’s Appeal

That is why I am humbly appealing to eminent chiefs in the country, especially, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the Asantehene, to intervene and bring the situation under control.

Otumfuo is the owner of all lands, rivers and forest reserves, which are in the Asante kingdom.

One can mention rivers like Offin, Prah, Tano, Oda and others that pass through the Asante kingdom, that have all been affected by the activities of illegal mining.

Large scale forest reserves such as Tano-Suraw, Bepotenten, Digya, and others, have also been destroyed by the illegal mining activities.

Otumfuo Osei Tutu, has control over all chiefs, sub-chiefs, Abrempong and Adikros, in all parts of Asanteman.

The power of Otumfuo

This is why it is important for all of us to plead with him, to bring his traditional influence to bare to stop illegal mining.

A word from the Asantehene to all illegal miners to stop their activities and leave all communities under his jurisdiction, is all that would be needed to stop that activity.

A warning to all chiefs not to allow such activities to go on in their communities, will be the final blow.

This, I am of the opinion, will give further boost to our political leaders in the fight against illegal mining in the country.

Other eminent chiefs in areas where galamsey is going on can also do the same.

“It is important for all of us to support the determination of the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo, to win the galamsey fight.

He or his government cannot do it alone. He needs our support, that of the chiefs, the media and all who care for the future to support him to protect our environment, not only for this generation, but the future.”

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