Ghana is a very funny place. Hypocrisy and selfishness have eaten so much into our social fabric that some of us are even ready to assist in our self-destruction!
Currently, a video in the Twi language has gone 'viral' on the Internet, in which a young Ghanaian man is seen warning the Akufo- Addo Government not to carry out its plans to end galamsey.
“President Nana Akufo-Addo”, the man says, “if you have come to power, sit down quietly and take galamsey cool. For 'gale' is what gives many of us our daily bread....You see that machine over there? [Camera pans to a huge excavator churning up the earth in a deep pit filled with wet, yellowish mud]. It is mine. My name is Bronxy One”. I can be found at a place near America House, East Legon....”
I could hardly believe that any Ghanaian would fail to show any trace of caution whilst issuing veiled threats against the elected President of his own country. Worse, the fellow did not give the slightest indication that he was conscious of the destruction that his seeking “something to eat” was causing to the land that gave him birth.
That's what frightened me. In some countries, carrying out such wanton destruction of the rivers and the land would be considered so heinous – both legally and socially – that those engaged in it would have to smuggle themselves into the areas of operation. But to this ogre, galamsey is not “smuggling” but the NEW NORMAL!
Now, similar situations have become common in Brazil and other Latin American countries such as Ecuador and Peru. Rich people buy equipment and GUNS and give them to MERCENARY armies, camouflaged as “private security” personnel. They are used to invade the traditional habitats of the indigenous peoples of the area, and forcibly drive them off their land. The mercenary gangs engage in illegal logging and transformation of the forest into ranches where they rear cattle for export as beef. Or grow soya beans – also for export.
Few of the urban elites care whether the indigenous populations are decimated or not. Some members of the elites in fact applaud the genocide, inasmuch as it “opens up” the forests for the construction of good roads and food growing!" Econiomic development", you know? (!)
Of course, the existence of mercenaries in any country can sow the seeds for the beginnings of political insurgency, and that is why the countries mentioned are not known to be particularly stable.
One tourist company in Latin America admits that:
QUOTE: “The indigenous people revere the forest and until the present, have protected it from outsiders. The forest gives them everything they need. They live what is called a sustainable existence, meaning they use the land without doing any harm to the plants and animals that also inhabit the rainforest. But indigenous peoples have been losing their lives and the land they live on, ever since Europeans began colonizing their territories 500 years ago.” UNQUOTE
The destruction of life and livelihood in the rain-forests is vividly described thus:
QUOTE: “Trundling along the dirt roads of the Amazon, a giant logging lorry dwarfed the vehicle of investigators monitoring its movements. The trunks of nine huge trees were piled high on the back – proof of the continuing destruction of the world's greatest rain-forest and its most endangered tribe, the Awá.
“It is a scene played out throughout the Amazon, as the authorities struggle to tackle the powerful illegal logging industry. But it is not just the loss of the trees that has created a situation so serious that it led a Brazilian judge to describe it as "a real genocide".. .. Hired gunmen – known as pistoleros – are hunting Awá people who have stood in the way of land-grabbers. ” UNQUOTE
This last quote should give the Ghana Government a lot to worry about. Genocide is not a word that is lightly bandied about. It is a most serious development in some oarts odf the developing world, but because the media in those countries tend to be owned by the rich classes that engage in the genocide, the murders attract relatiely little notice. What they demonstrate clearly is that there is nothing that can satisfy the greed of some human beings. Humans do not normally recognise when they have done enough harm. An animal will turn tail and run when it is in a hopeless situation. But not a greedy human.
One would have thought, for instance, that with the noise that has been made by both sides about China-Ghana co-operation, which falls in line with the “win-win” syndrome that China proclaims to be its guiding principle in relation to its trade relations with African countries, China's representatives in Ghana would be the first to recomme nd to their government to take unusually strong action against Chinese nationals who travel to Ghana to collude with Ghanaians in destroying Ghana's rivers and forests.The Chinese may think it is "legitimate business," while the Ghana Government calls it illegal mining. Euphemistically.
But what's in a name? Are the Chinese blind? Can't they see with their own eyes, the deep open craters and their greenish-yellow "water" dottted all over rural Ghana that were once life-giving rivers and streams? Can't they smell the poisonous fumes of the mercury and cyanide used to refine gold dust and which are allowed to run into Ghana's rivers and streams and also to run off allover the land to pollute underground water-sources with their toxic residues? Is that "business" or wanton vandalism?
Can't the Chinese visualise the future consequences of the drying-up of mighty rivers like the Tanoh? Do they watch Ghana TV? Have they seen the unserviceable nature of water purifification plants in such towns as Kyebi, due to the fact that the water pumped into the plants is mainly calcifying mud left by the galamsey operators? If the Chinese walk around Ghana without seeing that they are killing the country, then of what use is their so-called "friendship"?
Listen to what a former Ghanaian Minister of Lands and Natural Resources had to say about the attitude of Chinese officials in Ghana to galamsey:
“Chinese Ambassador tried to undermine my ‘galamsey’ fight – Inusah Fuseini
A former Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Alhaji Inusah Fuseini, has spoken of the pressure Chinese officials in Ghana put on him when he tried to fight against illegal mining.... The former Minister said the former Chinese Ambassador tried different methods [incuding reporting him to President John Mahama] to get him to ease up on the fight against illegal miners. The Tamale Central Member of Parliament was commenting on the [current] Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu’s [recent] meeting with the Chinese Ambassador to Ghana, and the Mayor of China’s Guangxi Zhuang Province. The meeting saw the Minister ostensibly beg for support from the Chinese to fight illegal mining.
“Alhaji Fuseini noted that when he started his campaign against illegal mining, which was to also involve the deportation of Chinese involved in the canker, he received a lot of pressure from all corners.” He recalled that the former Chinese Ambassador to Ghana ...visited him several times in his office to have him loosen his stance on the Chinese involved in illegal mining... “He [the Chinese Ambassador] came to try and convince me that the Chinese who were in Ghana doing small-scale mining were doing lawful business…
“He came to me to exact sympathy from me saying the Chinese have invested a lot in the small scale mining sector, [and that] they ought to be allowed to continue. But I said no,” Alhaji Fuseini said. “He offered me a scholarship [for my child] but I refused.” The former Minister also revealed. “When I started the operation to clean [up] the small-scale mining sector of illegalities, they revised the visa regime for Ghanaians… Before you [went] to China, your application had to be sent to China before you got approval. …..
“On Mr. Amewu’s apparent begging of the Chinese to support the illegal mining fight, Alhaji Fuseini said “…No, you don’t beg the Chinese. As a Minister you swear to uphold the laws of this country. Illegal small-scale mining is illegal small-scale mining. It violates the laws of this country and as a Minister,.. you have to use the coercive power of the state,” he asserted.” UNQUOTE
In the light of Mr Inusah's disclosures, I wonder whether the new Minister of the Interior, Mr Ambrose Dery, has anything to say about the impression created by the report that some Chinese societies have made a donation of C50,000 to the Ghana police.
Here is the report:
QUOTE: “Chinese Societies Donate To Police
April 3, 2017 The IGP receiving a dummy cheque from a representative of the association
“The Chairman of the Ghana Association of Chinese Societies and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of CAITEC Group, Tang Hong, has donated an amount of GH¢50,000 to the Police administration in support of the construction of the Police Intelligence and Professional Standards (PIPS) Headquarters at the Nima Police Station. Mr. Tang Hong, who was accompanied by the former Director-General of PIPS, COP Joana Osei-Poku (Rtd), said the donation is to support the Ghana Police Service combat crime in the country.” UNQUOTE
One wonders: does the "crime" the Chinese want to help the police to combat include the destruction of rivers and farms through galamsey? At a time when some Chinese galamsey operators have been remanded in custody after being arrested by the police at a galamsey site, isn't the acceptance of this donation rather distasteful? Especially in the light of Mr Inusah Fuseini's revelation that the Chinese tried to bribe him with a scholarship so that he would cease his campaign to end galamsey?
Ironically, the donation is supposed to help the police to build an “intelligence centre”. If the Ghana police service is so naive that it cannot infer from recent government declarations that accepting a donation from Chinese societies at this particular moment is rather insensitive (to say the least) then I am afraid no amount of “intelligence training” can help the service.
For if the Chinese in custody are released for lack of vigorous and efficacious prosecution by the police, or if no more Chinese nationals are arrested at all by the police at galamsey sites, won't intelligent members of the Ghanaian public be entitled to add two and two together and conclude that the situation is the result of the “good relations” that have been deliberately created between the Chinese community and the Ghana police, through -- among oither things -- the donations the Chinese make to the police? Won't that, Mr Dery, be a great insult to the Ghanaian populace that pays the salaries of members of the Ghana Police Force?
Ghanaians demand the utmost loyalty from the Police, to the state of Ghana, and to you, their Minister; not to any group of outsiders however rich they may be.
It must also be asked: if the Chinese openly court the sympathy of the Ghana police by making "donations" to the Force, then what transactions do they carry out with relevant members of the Police Force behind closed doors? What is the use of their cultivating "contacts" with the Force if those contacts are not to be used to assist Chinese nationals who fall foul of Ghana's immigration laws and those that apply to galamsey?
Answer those questions honestly for yourself, Minister Dery.