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Opinions of Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Columnist: Cameron Duodu

Secret galamsey supporters are emerging from the woodwork to show us their true colours!

File photo File photo

It is manifest that a policy which will hit the pockets of certain people – such as the Government's policy to end galamsey and thus save our water-bodies, rivers and streams as well as our farmlands from devastation – cannot win the support of everyone.

For the power of money is almost overwhelming.

But let's be clear – how does a galamsey operator make money? In a manner of speaking, he obtains a few excavators and other machines. He hires a few labourers. He sends them into a river where the work-force churns up the sand and gravel, and then use a machine to “wash” gold dust and gold nuggets out of the sand. And hey presto – they've got a “pot of gold”.

Now, it is a known fact that if you put water water in a pail for a dog, it will never urinate into, or otherwise foul that water. Horses too appreciate their need for water and show respect to it. And so keenly have our people observed such animal behaviour with respect to water that they have coined a proverb to express their thoughts. They say [in Twi] “Akok? s? nsuo a, ?de kyer? Nyame” (When the fowl sucks some water with its beak to drink, it first shows it to God to express its appreciation”.)

Indeed, man is the only animal that deliberately pollutes and even destroys his own sources of water. By engaging in activities that devastate water-sources. Such as galamsey.

No-one, except perhaps someone who has newly arrived from the planet Mars, would profess to not having heard that our President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has condemned galamsey as a threat to the lives of future residents of this country and has therefore set up “Operation Vanguard” through which soldiers and policemen are combing the galamsey fields, arresting both Ghanaians and foreign nationals engaged in galamsey and confiscating the destructive machines with which they wantonly despoil our rivers and streams.

It is therefore with enormous shock that I have read a story which shows clearly that one of the President's own appointees as Chief District Executive, has stabbed him in the back by taking money, ostensibly for his District Assembly, from Chinese nationals and releasing back to them, as many as twelve excavators that had been seized from them. Here is the unbelievable story:

QUOTE: Chinese miners pay GHC700,000 to Assembly for the release of seized excavators

Information available to indicates that some Chinese miners, whose excavators were seized in the [name omitted] District in the Ashanti Region, have paid Seven Hundred Thousand Ghana Cedis (GHS700, 000) to the District Assembly, for the release of their confiscated excavators. A deepthroat source at the District Assembly, who spoke to AbusuaFm... on condition of anonymity, confirmed that... in January this year, the [name omitted] District Assembly seized 12 excavators from some illegal Chinese miners in the area and conveyed them to the district assembly.

According to the source, just some few days ago, he realized that the Chinese miners had paid an amount of Seven Hundred Thousand Ghana Cedis ... to the assembly for the release of the confiscated excavators. ”Some Assembly members had a meeting with the District Chief Executive (DCE) for [name omitted; the] Coordinating Director and [the] District Financial Officer ... and they took the said money from them. The Chinese miners paid Seven Hundred Thousand Ghana Cedis (GHC700, 000) before the excavators were released to them; that I can tell you’’.

The source [also] revealed that the illegal Chinese miners immediately conveyed the excavators back to their various mining sites in constituencies such as Nweneso No 1 and 2, and have started mining, despite the government’s ban on galamsey. [The] District Chief Executive for the [named omitted] District, when contacted, …. admitted [that] his outfit had indeed released the 12 excavators, which were detained months ago, to the Chinese miners. He indicated that it became necessary for the confiscated excavators to be released to the owners, following [a] recent clash between residents of Foase and [those of Twedie] over a district capital relocation from Foase to Twedie. (!!)

He claimed that the assembly hurriedly released the excavators [to] allay [the] fears of [their] being set ablaze by the irate Foase residents, but admitted that the District Assembly collected an undisclosed amount of money from the Chinese as [a]‘’penalty’’. Some residents of... Nweneso community... disclosed that some Chinese miners are still in their community doing mining seriously, despite the ban against galamsey by President Akufo-Addo.

According to them, some excavators came to the community this month with police escort to their various mining sites. “We are appealing to Operation Vanguard [and the] Government to be more proactive in the fight against galamsey, because we know there are some Chinese who are still operating in our community, destroying our lands and rivers”.UNQUOTE

Now, in a democracy like ours, it is agreed that people can have differences of opinion, even with a Government they support. But an official appointed to a public office by the President or a Minister, is duty-bound to carry out government policy in all his doings. If he wants the Government to change its policy, there are clearly-stated ways in which he can do so. If, after he has made his representations, the Government still continues to carry out its policy and he feels he can no longer serve it, he is honour-bound to resign from his position. He cannot be taking government pay and be sabotaging government policy from within.

If the allegations made against the District Chief Executive and his Assembly are true, their position is untenable. They should be summoned to meet their regional party officials to thrash out the matter. If they still persist in secretly defying government policy on galamsey, they should be sacked.. There are many members of the NPP waiting to fill their positions and who, if vetted properly, will be willing to follow the government line on galamsey.

A hard line has to be adopted by the President and the Government on this because it appears that despite the enormous amount of work that has been put into trying to educate the public about the evils of galamsey, there are many people, some in influential positions, who only think about the money to be made from galamsey when the subject comes up.

Sad as this is, it cannot be helped, for humankind is made up of all types characters. I remind them: Traditionally, our people attached such importance to teaching us the overwhelming importance of certain life-giving elements in Nature that they created that pithy proverb in the Twi language which illustrates the over-arching need for us to o appreciate the value of water to all living creatures and conserve and preserve our water-sources: “Akok? s? nsuo a, ?de kyer? Nyame.”

Are fowls more intelligent than humans? Maybe they are! For they
don't engage witlessly in destructive practices such as galamsey, do they?