The presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Mahama, says when elected as president in the December 7, election, he will grant general amnesty to all persons jailed for small-scale mining-related offences.
Many Ghanaian small-scale miners, popularly known as galamsey operators, are in prison custody after they were arrested by the government’s special anti-galamsey security taskforce and prosecuted for offences relating to small-scale mining.
Interacting with the chiefs and people of Abesewa in the Ahafo Ano South East constituency on Tuesday at the start of his five-day campaign tour of the Ashanti Region, Mr Mahama said his administration will give galamsey offenders a second chance to better their lives.
“Because of the fight against galamsey, some of the youth have been arrested. But with our new policy on small-scale mining when we come into power, we are going to start afresh. We know they have offended the law but I believe that these galamsey operators are remorseful so we will give them another chance”, he said.
Mr Mahama said, with careful planning, the mining sector could create about one million jobs for the youth, adding the next NDC government will take advantage of this and implement well-planned policies to develop the mining sector.
He announced that when elected in the impending presidential election, the next Mahama government will introduce co-operative mining in all mining districts.
As part of this, he said, mining professionals will be employed to provide guidance for small-scale mining operations, adding this will help to regulate the sector, improve safety and make land reclamation a central part of smallscale mining operations.
Mr Mahama said it is regrettable that the government has politicised small-scale mining by seizing mining concessions and equipment of operators.
This the former President said has thrown them out of business whilst at the same time allowing members of the governing party to engage in small-scale mining operations.
He said it is important that justice prevails in the small-scale mining sector so that all Ghanaians can reap the benefits of the sector, not just a few card-bearing members of the ruling party.
Mr Mahama, therefore, urged small-scale miners and their families to be guided accordingly and cast their ballot in his favour on December 7, to enable the next NDC government to restore justice in the small-scale mining sector and for all Ghanaians to reap its benefits, not just a few card-bearing members of the governing party.
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