Enimil Ashon: Galamsey and men without principles

Akonta Mining Ltd

Shall we agree that it is impossible to stop Galamsey? We tried – or pretended to try: we made all the right noises; we sent the police after the operators, but we said the police were not fearsome enough. We sent in the military. We burnt Schanfang and excavators. Now it’s the turn of a Special Prosecutor who has no fear of saints.

None has worked. I had known, all along, that it was a fight of unequal: between the powerlessness of the masses, and the most powerful force in human history – personal and political interest.

Who won? Greed did. Even the police and soldiers proved they were human, after all, that they, too, must eat.

For votes, Mahama promised and is still promising to set the jailed perpetrators free. For Chinese loans, Akufo Addo set Aisha Huang free. To protect a party person, the President declares Akonta Mining free of guilt though the Probe hasn’t presented its report

So no one is fighting; the only ones seen to be genuinely fighting are the financiers of this act of mass murder.

A medical team has just returned from a mission to the Galamsey hub of Ghana, with stories as harrowing as death.  In places like Tarkwa Nsuem, Ayanfuri, Manso Nkwanta and Wassa Akropong, they saw police and military there, but the active ones are those who are protecting the criminals, especially the Chinese.

On their first mission, about two years ago, they saw a group of Galamseyers who had been arrested. Then somebody picked up his phone and spoke into it. A few minutes later, armed men in military uniforms arrived and started shooting into the air. It is not known if their presence is known to the Military High Command.

It’s free for all. The kingpins are at large and in charge. They control everything, even electricity. In one town which is not being served by the national grid, electricity is generated by gensets owned by one or two Galamseyers. What shocked the medical team was the electricity bill: it is GHc15 per electrical bulb per day!!!

Six years after the launch of the fight against Galamsey, the NPP’s dilemma was expressed by the anguish in the President’s voice as he lamented the number of Parliamentary seats his party lost in the 2020 elections, a good number of them as a punishment for the party’s onslaught against Galamsey endemic constituencies.

Of course, the NDC has seen their advantage; they exploited it in 2020 and are not hiding (they’ve actually started advertising) their determination to hit the hammer right where it sinks the incumbent.  

What is the solution?  

For years, I had shouted myself hoarse against the death penalty. But tell you what, the last time I crossed the Beposo Bridge and saw the colour of my beloved Pra River, I abandoned that stand. I am now close to agreeing with everybody that Galamsey will not end in Ghana until the soldiers we send after the illegal miners are empowered to shoot to kill. The fact is, they (Galamseyers) have no compunction against killing “intruders”. They’ve killed Major Mahama. They’ve killed Anglo Gold Ashanti’s John Owusu.

That’s at the individual level. What they’re doing to our water bodies amounts to mass murder.

Fact: the only time Galamsey was stopped in Ghana was when Jerry John Rawlings sent soldiers after them with instructions to shoot to kill.

The enemy fighting the country’s fight against Galamsey is hydra-headed. Not only that; it has the hydra-head of Medusa: you cut six heads and almost immediately, six heads grow in their place, with a more potent venom.

Every Ghanaian knows the wickedest head of all, namely the loss of the values which, once upon a time, spelt the name Ghana.

It is not as if Ghana lacks the requisite laws.  The Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM) set up in 2017 was bound to fail from the very outset. The greed of party financiers fought and succeeded in killing it.  

Between 2017 and 2019, Operation Vanguard, the 400-member anti-galamsey military and associated security arrested over 2,200 illegal miners, including foreign nationals, seized and burnt hundreds of shangfang and excavators.

But it was all for show. ‘Galamsey Queen’ – Aisha Huang, was set free in May 2017 in spite of her proven culpability.

As I conclude this article, I wish to make a plea to our politicians. I am asking all stakeholders for a meeting for a political settlement. For once, let us try to keep the electioneering dynamics under. If the Galamsey financiers and operators know they have no political party to run to, the battle would have been half-won.

Unfortunately, it may not work because of the benefits of Winner Take All. Ghana is being run on the fuel of selfish greed

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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.