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Opinions of Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Columnist: Eric Bawah

Galamsey: They desire death in pits, we desire safety of our river bodies

When I heard that about twenty two galamseyers died in a galamsey pit somewhere in Prestea while prospecting for gold, I jubilated throughout the day. I admit that the death of every human being is painful but surely not the death of any galamseyer.

If these nation wreckers think the fight against galamsey is going to be a nine day wonder, then they better begin writing their wills.

Since the unfortunate lynching of Major Adam Mahama by galamseyers, I have become so bitter that even as an Earth Angel, I have decided to become my irreverent self and spit fire. Probably the restless ghost of the late Major Mahama has started teaching them lessons. Serves them right.

The Executive President of Ghana, Nana Akufo Addo, clergymen, Imams, chiefs, farmers, fisher folks, all political parties leadership, chiefs, fetish priests and priestesses and a cross section of Ghanaians including foreign governments have decried the galamsey menace yet galamsey operators continue to treat everybody with contempt.

Those of us who will like the president to succeed as far as the fight against galamsey is concerned will always go down on our knees to pray to the Almighty God to command galamsey pits to continue to cave in, killing more people. If that is the language they understand, so be it.

The last time I saw River Birim on my way to Accra, I smiled. The ancient river which used to be the pride of the people of Akyem turned yellow due to the activities of these galamseyers but barely two months after the sector minister of Lands and Natural Resources gave the order for galamsey operators to seize operation, River Birim is picking the pieces again.

If we are able to sustain the fight and refuse to succumb to any pressure, in a matter of years, all polluted rivers in Ghana will be clean again and fishes will get places to stay and multiply for all of us to get fish on our dining tables.

The very few Ghanaians who are speaking against the stoppage of galamsey because of the little they gain from the operations of the galamseyers, should also be treated as enemies of the good people of this country.

The president has told Ghanaians that if even it will cost him the presidency, he will relentlessly fight galamsey to its logical conclusion and yet there are people out there who want to call the bluff of the president as if galamsey operations are the only jobs in Ghana and that if they do not do galamsey, they will die. What sort of nonsense is this? Galamsey operators are well built and able bodied men and women so they can also get involved in farming.

Luckily, the government of President Akufo Addo has introduced the Planting for Food and Jobs programme which is catching on well with the youth in the rural areas with chiefs competing to give out lands for the programme.

The sad aspect of this nonsense called ‘galamsey’ is that lands which should have been used for the Planting for Food and Jobs are being destroyed by these criminals on daily basis. And to add insult to injury some cocoa farmers are selling their cocoa farms to galamseyers to cut the cocoa trees and use the land to prospect for gold.

Do these people ever sit down to think of the future or it is a matter of eat, drink, enjoy and die? What is annoying is that some of these cocoa farms were inherited from their dead relatives who saw it necessary to engage in cocoa farming in order to leave a legacy for the future generations.

I do not believe in ghosts either than that I would have invoked the ghost of Tette Quashie to kill any cocoa farmer who will sell his farm to galamseyers to prospect for gold.

Today in Ghana, apart from the Greater Accra and Volta Region, these galamseyers operate everywhere. I recently read in the newspapers that the Ghana Armed Forces are going to train Special Forces to fight galamsey and that to me is most appropriate.

Even though we are not in a military regime, if these Special Forces arrest galamseyers they should drill them in public, take pictures and post them on social media to serve as a deterrent to others.

Government should also as a matter of urgency lay a bill in parliament making the operation of galamsey illegal. If we do that those who have been given license to operate as small scale miners but have veered into galamsey should face the full force of the law.

Additionally, heavy earth moving machines seized from these galamseyers should be distributed to MMDAs to be used to repair feeder roads in the villages, that is after the galamseyers have been forced at gunpoint to cover the pits they dug with the machines.

If you are living in Accra or Ho, you will not understand the danger posed by these galamseyers. If you visit a galamsey operation site, you will curse the day you were born in Ghana. In some places, prostitution and gay flourish like what happened during the days of Sodom and Gomorrah.

What is heart raking is that because of the poverty level in the country, some students in Senior High Schools go to these galamsey areas to practice prostitution during vacation.

If the Special Force to fight galamsey starts operation, chefs who give out lands for people to do galamsey should not be spared at all.

They should be stripped naked and whipped before their subjects. What I know is that our chiefs hold the land in trust for their subjects but sadly it is not the case these days.

They sell the lands to galamseyers and pocket the monies. In some cases, they buy luxurious cars and marry more wives and any of their subjects who would dare challenge them is invited to their palaces where they are made to slaughter sheep to appease the gods because they have challenged the overlord of the land.

Assembly members who control galamsey areas like the guy at Denkyira Obuase who organized the lynching of Major Mahama are also deep in the business. They are treated like tin gods because in the villages, the assembly member is revered and his word is law.

If these galamseyers go to the village to engage in this crazy business, they first pay courtesy call to the chiefs and thereafter go to introduce themselves to the assembly member.

After operating for sometime, they go to the assembly member to give him his share of the booty and assure him of more cash if the business goes on well.

If the mighty assembly member waits for sometime and money is not coming, he goes to their operational sites to warn them that if they fail to honour their pledge he will report them to the task force. That is why you see some unemployed assembly members whose jurisdictions fall under galamsey sites riding posh cars.

The NDC desperados, led by defeated Baba Jamal, the Al Shabbab jihadist have coined a new name for the President, Nana Akufo Addo and that is good. They call him Kwaku Burger because according to them, he travels a lot.

In their case they stayed back home and squandered the state coffers and so if someone else decides to travel out there to redeem the tainted image of Ghana they become jealous of the person. They did the same thing to ex-president Kufour and before they could say Jack Robin, goodies started falling on Ghana like manna from heaven.

The NDC will stay in opposition for a long time because they have still not been able to learn the ropes as far as modern governance is concerned.

When they started complaining that ex-president Kufour used to travel a lot, the ex-president told them that in this modern era you don’t sit in your country as a president and expect good things to come your way.

During one of the numerous trips of ex-president Kufour, he visited India and told the then government that the seat of government of Ghana was a slave dungeon and that India should help Ghana build a befitting State House for the country.

The Indian government moved in sympathy with Mr. Kufour and granted Ghana $30,000,000 for the construction of the Jubilee house which was re-christened Flagstaff House by the name – changing regime of Atta Mills and his NDC.

Even when the edifice was under construction, Mr. Asiedu Nketia said when completed and they came to power, the place would be turned into a hospital since the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital was over crowded. Madam Ama Benyiwa Doe also said the place will be turned to a poultry farm when they came to power. You see, God works in mysterious ways.

The NDC led by the late president Mills came to power but because of the way they spoke about the edifice, Mills never stayed in the magnificent building. As for Mr. Mahama he and his ministers and government functionaries occupied the place like the way chickens occupy poultry farms.

Ex-president Kufour went to the UK and met the Queen where he told her that the maternal death rate in Ghana was unacceptable so the Queen should help. The result was the Free Maternal Care which was destroyed by the NDC.

For the past six months wherever President Akufo Addo and his Vice visited, they came back with monies to revamp the rundown economy. If that is why Jihad Baba Jamal and co decide to call the president, ‘Kwaku Burger’, so be it.