A peace and conflict resolution expert, Dr Vladimir Antwi-Danso, says he is convinced about the involvement of chiefs in galamsey operations in the country.
According to him, for galamsey to thrive, it needs the support of persons in power, hence his conviction that some traditional rulers are complicit in the act.
Speaking in an interview with Benjamin Akakpo on the AM Show on Tuesday, he stated that apart from chiefs, there are also some bigwigs in the country, who front the practice.
“When we talk of galamsey, I always say that these things that we are seeing; the tractors and excavators and what not, no such persons working within those areas could own such things. There are big, big fishes behind. If you took any piece of land anywhere in Ghana, somebody will tell you, it belongs to somebody”, he stated.
Dr Antwi-Danso continued, “Chiefs are very much involved in most of these things where land is concerned. The truth is that some big big wigs, both within party and within government, and maybe even outside government are all involved in this galamsey. The chiefs are involved. I am convinced that the chiefs are involved”.
His comments were in reaction to an attack on the leader of the United Progressive Party (UPP), Akwasi Addai ‘Odike’.
The attack is said to be linked to his recent comments about the involvement of chiefs in galamsey.
Speaking on a Kumasi-based radio station, Mr. Akwasi Addai unequivocally criticised chiefs for failing to help end the ‘galamsey’ menace.
He therefore charged the youth to rise up and demonstrate against chiefs if the traditional rulers fail to come clear on their roles in or stance against illegal mining.
But his comment was described as distasteful and unsubstantiated, meant to dent the image of Manhyia.
Some chiefs of the Kumasi Traditional Council on Friday subsequently performed rituals and slaughtered a ram to ostensibly banish Odike from Manhyia.
The chiefs considered the words of Odike as disrespectful, hence he should have no business at Manhyia.
Few days after this, armed men allegedly attacked Odike at his office at Patase, Kumasi on Monday, 22nd August, around 4:30 pm.
In the ensuing attack, cars parked in front of the office were vandalised.
The gunmen reportedly rushed to the office of the former presidential aspirant shooting randomly.
A member of Odike’s team, Francis, claimed the gunmen ordered staff in the office to lie down; after which they physically assaulted them and ransacked the office.
Odike, who was not in the office has reported the incident to the Kumasi Central Police Command.
Meanwhile, the UPP leader seems unfazed by the development. In an interview with JoyNews, he insisted that he has been vindicated by the development.
He added that a retraction of his comment is now out of the question as the ‘battle lines have been drawn”.
A visibly shaken Odike expressed hope that the police will take action to bring the perpetrators to book, as he takes steps to beef up his own security.
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