The Vice President of IMANI Africa, Kofi Bentil, says the activities of illegal miners in Ghana, popularly known as galamsey, have gone beyond conditions necessary for the declaration of a state of emergency.

According to him, a declaration of a state of emergency in the country’s worst hit areas is long overdue and thus demonstrates the government’s unwillingness to fight the galamsey canker.

He explained that considering the fact that the situation has now become dire and posing both a security risk to the country and possibly stoking an international conflict with neighbouring Ivory Coast due to the polluting of water bodies that flow into that country, a state of emergency would give the government the chance to enforce extraordinary measures to stop the menace once and for all.

Speaking on JoyNews’ PM Express, he said, “If you read article 31, everything that is necessary for a declaration of a state of emergency has happened and it’s getting worse. You have a situation where from the government’s own point of view, every action they have taken has failed, and a state of emergency gives the President some sort of room to take extraordinary measures. It is defining.

“It forces a situation on the area such that now anything even constitutional rights may be suspended under a state of emergency. And a state of emergency is necessary when you have a situation which threatens the community, the lives of the people living in the community, the environment in the community, and creates a situation where security is compromised to the extent that the state has to take extraordinary measures.”

He added that, “We have in Ghana today a situation where people are mining illegally in the face of government. They have challenged the state frontally, not hiding, the laws they’ve shoved aside and they’re doing things illegally.

“And they have armed themselves, and they have not just harmed themselves and are staying in the bush, there have been situations where there is shooting related to illegal mining in Ghanaian towns. We have a situation where people’s houses are being dug up.

“Look, I don’t know what we need to see before we appreciate that people’s lives and livelihoods are being affected. We have a situation where we are threatening an international conflict with our neighbour. We have a situation where water sources are being polluted.

“It is an act of war if you pollute your neighbour’s water and it is a war crime if you do so. I mean, I could go on and on and on, There’s no reason why the government should not declare a state of emergency.”

His comments follow a JoyNews documentary by Erastus Asare Donkor which extensively documents the devastation illegal miners have wrought on mining communities in the country.

According to Kofi Bentil, the government has been insincere in their pledge to fight and uproot the menace, thus there is the need for real action to be taken immediately before the situation escalates even further.

“We’re long past the state of emergency. Indeed it is an abject failure of the state, and when I say the state I mean the government in power, that they have not been able to deal with this thing. But I choose my words carefully, if we say they have not been able to, there’s a suggestion that they have tried.

“I wish to put this matter out clearly … given everything that we know, given everything that has been said, given everything that has been done, given the fact that the land space of Ghana is not impossible to traverse, we don’t think that the effort of the government has been sincere.

“There has never been any intention to deal with galamsey because I don’t see why we cannot deal with galamsey. I mean when the Minister goes and expresses shock that is disqualifying. Because if you have a job and you express shock about something that is central to your job it means you’re not on top of the job and I don’t think it is sincere. So honestly we’re long past the state of emergency,” he said.

DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.


DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.