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Opinions of Monday, 19 October 2015

Columnist: Enoch Afoakwah

Open letter to the President of Ghana

Opinion Opinion

The President of Ghana
Flagstaff House

Your Excellency,


I write to you Mr. President concerning the sky rocketing levels of hopelessness and abject poverty bedeviling the good people of Obuasi under your stewardship.

Mr. President, the people of Obuasi as you have read from history are hardworking and investor driven people who have the passion to make life better for themselves and their immediate surroundings with the indegenous occupation such as farming, hunting, artisanal mining and goldsmithing of which the advent of large scale commercial mining operations with its associated legal regimes has rendered some illegal, collapsed others; thereby making us jobless.

The need to acquire the requisite scholarly knowledge to acquire employable skills to be employed was the next option available where thousands of people in Obuasi I can say have it, but now cannot gain employment.

Mr. President, years of negotiations for the Obuasi mine managers to allow the local miners to derive livelihood from the abandoned or unused land of the company materialized which started booming the local economy and allowing trading activities to acelerate, but this later encountered a serious set back when you waged war on galamsey activities in the country.

That same year saw the preparation of AngloGold Ashanti to roll on their foot print reduction with the retrenchment of almost 4,000 employees which has virtually collapsed the Obuasi economy.

Your Excellency, It is important to remind you that, you are in your third year of the second term of your party in government and gradually getting closer to the evaluation stage of your term in office which many tout it as the years in hell due to the precarious dumsor, coupled with the high-interest rates and industrial unrests.

The people of Obuasi still remember the social contract you signed with us during your presidential campaign tour at the black park in Obuasi before the 2012 elections where Mr. Johnson Asiedu Nketia promised us of a ministerial position, job creation and the strengthening of galamsey in Obuasi but the reverse of the promise is what we got.

Mr. President, a new era of opportunity is coming in the area of the merger or joint venture between AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. and Rangold Resources Ltd which we are told comes with over 3,500 employment opportunities and other opportunities in the value chain of mining.

This joint venture cannot succeed without a stability agreement and or Development agreement; this is where the thousands of employable youth whose land has been taken over in compliance to section one and two of the mining and minerals Act of 2006, Act 703 in obuasi and have lost their livelihood are looking for employment alternative. We are watching and monitoring you closely on the terms you will agree with the new company and the benefits or loss that will come out of it.

We don't need political assurances because the action lies on desk to cause us to celebrate or weep sorrowfully.

Obuasi has the richest and unique ore in the world.

Your Excellency, the recruitment and training of Ghanaians portion of the law as in Section 50 subsection 1& 2 of Act 703 of 2006 is very important to the youth of Obuasi and must be deepened in the new agreements to be made with timelines since Subsection 3 of Section 50 of Act 703 of 2006 is not behavioural in nature, if successfully implemented, Obuasi could be exporting human resource to other mining countries to rake in foreign exchange earnings like the Cubans are doing across the globe with their Medical Doctors.

Mr. President the people of Obuasi have vowed to resist attempt by the company to offer employment not considering first the youth of Obuasi who have developed for themselves employable skills needed in the mining enterprise in the area of intellectual, professional and technical competencies to offer ingenious ideas in policy formulation and implementation towards the overall attainment of the mission and vission of the company.

Your Excellency, since the would be mining company cannot employ all the youth in Obuasi, I am pleading with you to negotiate with the mining company to ceede some portion of their concession for indigenous small scale mining to help improve the employment rate and the local economy, other countries have done this to succeed and will help stabilize the cedi other than depending solely on this large scale multinational mining companies who retains their millions of dollars overseas.

This regime of signing higher percentages of foreign exchange retention agreements with mining companies to keep their monies in foreign accounts abroad must stop to strenghten our cedi and economy.

Mr. President it is a fact that governance is challenging, but anything that has the tendency of undermining the stability of this nation such as poverty, unemployment, corruption etc. must be faced head on if we pride ourselves as the beacon of democracy in the sub-region and be blinded by western powers to strech our own people in the area of our natural resource tapping without any better gains from these multi national companies we should be taking responsibility of mineral nationalists and youth protests in the country.

Waiting for a reply Mr. President because reading the eyes of every nine out of ten youth you meet in Obuasi, one can clearly see the inscription, God did not place us on this rich ore body land to be poor.

A Member of the Sovereign Ghana,
Enoch Anhwere Afoakwah,