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Opinions of Tuesday, 16 November 2021

Columnist: Dawda Eric

Sand winning activities along the Keta sea shore must be the focus

The activities of sand winners at sea shores need to be checked The activities of sand winners at sea shores need to be checked

When the unfortunate incident of the tidal wave visited the people of Keta, Members of Parliament from the Volta Region saw same as an opportunity to do partisan politics with it.

In fact, they directed all their attacks on the government as if it was the Akufo Addo government that triggered the disaster on the people.

On the floor of the house when the MP for Keta presented a statement on the matter, he never made mention of any lasting solution as a form of a proposal to the government. Every single thing he said was decorated with political colors.

It must be emphasized that when the Deputy Majority Leader, Hon. Alexander Kwamina Afenyo-Markin had the opportunity to take a bite of the presentation, he drew the house attention to efforts by the government concerning the construction of sea defence wall projects in all the coastal areas including Keta.

That aspect of his presentation was in response to claims by the NDC that, the good people of Keta are being treated as if they are not Ghanaians. Hon.Afenyo Markin in his extensive presentation pointed out a series of human activities in that area which contributed to the kind of destruction we are seeing today.

Throughout Hon. Afenyo-Markin's contribution on the floor of the house, the term "sand winning" was never left out. The NDC MPs who saw same as a barricade to their political gimmicks on the matter without any scintilla of rebuttal disagreed with him on that score.

After a series of engagements in the chamber, Hon. Alexander Kwamena Afenyo-Markin led the majority caucus in a press encounter to further demonstrate that indeed and in fact, sand winning/sand mining activities in the area contributed significantly to the said devastation.

Hon. Alexander Kwamina Afenyo-Markin said his sources included research publications as well as investigations by the Fourth Estate of the Realm.

These sources according to the majority caucus had already given a hint on sand-winning activities along the shores of Keta and provided readers with a prognostic analysis of any possible effect of the sea overflowing its bounds in the form of a tidal wave.

According to the majority caucus, the researchers in their research observed that the only barrier between the ocean and homes is carved away by the activities of sand winners. The researchers also retorted that, activities created a channel for waves to attack and erode the beach systems due to the forcing wave energy.

It must also be placed on record that, the term "sand winning" which keeps featuring in the discussion about the tidal wave was never conjured by Hon. Alexander Kwamina Afenyo-Markin. One Mr.Quashigah whose thesis for Mphil he relied on is an indigene of Keta.

Seth J Bokpe who works with the Fourth Estate of the Realm whose publication on 8th September, 2021 which goes with the heading "Dear Sea, You are invited into our homes, the sand is gone" is also a Voltarian.

What must be noted also is the fact that, Hon. Alexander Kwamena Afenyo-Markin in his encounter disclosed the source of what he presented to the media for the purposes of fact-checking. So ideally, if the Deputy leader didn't mean well, he wouldn't have disclosed his source to the public in the first place for the purposes of customary fact-checking.

Indeed and in fact, one of the experts on the news file last Saturday, 13th November 2021 actually confirmed that, prior to the recent tidal wave incident in Keta, people were engaged in sand winning. Is this not what we all must be interested in if we want to find a permanent solution to this matter?

Now there appears to be a shift on the substantive(ie sand winning activities in Keta which stand undisputed) matter by the MP for Keta and his colleagues in parliament. They are doing so obviously because, they(Volta MPs) think, they will be further exposed if the factual claim of sand winning in Keta is allowed to stand.

The picture Hon. Alexander Kwamena Afenyo-Markin showed to the press was not manufactured by him neither were the inscriptions that accompanied the same written by him. It was lifted from a publication by coverghana. That publication also pointed to activities of sand winning in Keta.

Granted that, the picture used in the publication was actually not Keta, the question is, does it dispute the fact that, prior to the tidal wave incident, people were seriously engaged in activities of sand winning?

It may be true that CoverGhana had it wrong particularly in respect of the picture it used on their website as pictorial evidence of sand winning activities in keta, which must be of interest to you and I should rather be the substantive matter.