Chinese Embassy threats won't stop fight against galamsey - Minister

Chinese Embassy threats won't stop fight against galamsey - Minister
Source: Ghana | | Abubakar Ibrahim |
Date: 11-04-2017 Time: 01:04:27:pm

Information Minister Mustapha Hamid has dismissed any possible threat to the bilateral relations between China and Ghana over the fight against illegal mining popularly called galamsey. 

Mr. Hamid says the anti galamsey campaign will be sustained because government has demonstrated the will and the capacity to stamp it out. 

"President Nana Akufo-Addo has said he wants to be seen as the president who stamped it out and we are going to go ahead with the programme that we have in place to ensure that that happens," he said. 

His comments follow a letter purportedly written by authorities of the Chinese Embassy in Ghana impressing upon government to guide the media in their criticism of Chinese nationals in the galamsey business. 

The letter addressed to the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources by officials of the Chinese mission, also conveyed the concerns of the Chinese with the new campaign against galamsey which it said could derail bilateral relationship between the two countries.

The officials also pointed to a cartoon in the media which they say defamed their president and the Ambassador.

Their petition to the Ministry comes off the back of a relentless campaign by the Nana Akufo-Addo-led government, civil society groups and the media against illegal mining which has destroyed Ghana's environment.

A Media Coalition against Galamsey has been vociferous in fighting the menace. Considerable airtime, space has been given to discussing the issue with a view to solving the problem.

The government also made fighting galamsey a campaign issue and has made some commitment thus far.

Natural Resources Minister John Peter Amewu has already given a three-week ultimatum for the illegal miners, many of whom are Chinese, to vacate the lands.

Within the three-week period, he is embarking on an intense advocacy and engagement aimed at educating the miners about the harmful effects of galamsey.

Despite the concerns raised by the Chinese mission, Mr Hamid said where the fight against the menace has reached, it does not matter whose ox is gored, there will be no sacred cows in the galamsey fight. 

"It is about the future of this country and therefore the Chinese threat or whatever does not bother me at all," he said adding that if the tables are turned the Chinese will not want someone to be in their country working to the detriment of China's future. 

Mr Hamid said he does not begrudge them for saying something to appease their citizens but stressed they must recognise that the laws of Ghana have to be enforced to sanitise and guarantee the country's future. 

The Information Minister was emphatic that the letter and the issues raised in it have no consequence whatsoever on the government's programme to fight the canker. 

"We are going to do it irrespective of whoever says what," he said.