The solemn truth without any solace is that Ghana has shamefully exposed herself as a rogue country with delinquent leadership and proven grave misgovernance. It is self -evident from a lack of genuine political will and woeful institutional failure to deal with the unrelenting Gallamsey insurrection in our entire Fourth Republican constitutional “Corruptionocracy,” that the nation faces an existential threat to our economy, our peoples and our environment.
A marked lack of integrity at all levels, regarding horrendous amoral indulgence of illicit small scale mining, has grown especially vicious over the last four years to become a big scale criminal national pre-occupation.
Consequently, two of the nations top foreign exchange-earners, gold and cocoa are under siege, our forest cover is under unmitigated depletion, our lands are under attack and our water bodies are in muddied death throes while corruption is at a sure optimum-surge in need of radical surgery. This renders Ghana effectively a failed state unable to manage the fundamental lifeline of its economy and livelihoods, under a Presidency that was put “on the line”, as a “Gallamstop” Guarantee!
The recent zealous re-launch of the anti-Gallamsey campaign by Samuel Abu Jinapor who has emerged from the Presidency to infuse yet another injection of braggadocio into the endless galamsey fight is a shameful admission of hitherto abysmal failure. There is little doubt that this new vehemence while secret proxy deals and complicit scavenging persist, will also amount to window dressing which cannot render galamsey lifeless, without dealing with the main systemic root causes of the menace which can be traced to:
• Lack of Implementation of radical and meaningful laws on Campaign Finance: The shady conundrum of campaign finance is a real CORRUPTION OCTOPUS WITH GALLAMSEY TENTACLES and systemic cover-ups without sanctions for powerful galamsey barons who ‘Own, Support and Control’ the political establishment in both NPP and NDC administrations.
Some local drug and other powerful mafia-type Barons especially those who sponsor political party campaigns and political activists have found an alternate multi-billion dollar intoxicant of choice; illicit gold ore from the interior core of the erstwhile Gold Coast with complicit officialdom at national and local levels and no personal consequence whatsoever making the up to 15 years jail term a nonsensical joke otherwise known as proposition zero.
• The decay of our Regulatory Agencies: There is an obvious and radical need for qualitative overhaul and forensic reviews of the Forestry Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Ghana Geological Survey Authority and above all the Minerals Commission which is the Regulatory Compliance, Policy Implementation and Technical Agency with licensing oversight which has advisedly been described as “THE ENGINE ROOM WHERE ALL THE GALLAMSEY FRAUD AND ILLEGALITIES ARE HATCHED.”
It is most Sad that Ghana is obviously “Reaping the Whirlwind” of anti-nationalism, misgovernance and incessant collusive plunder of its mineral wealth and desecration of her environment without any conscience as though caution has been abandoned in a new locally inflicted slavery in alliance with neo imperialists!
50 yrs ago Dr K. A. Busia, Ghana’s foremost democrat for progress, ethics in governance advocate and anti-corruption crusader with a rural development imperative, as Prime Minister, diagnosed “Bribery and corruption” as the number one Ghana problem, disbanded the Kumasi City Council for corruption investigations and called for curative ethics in governance, as well as advocated honesty in public service instead of amassing illicit wealth.
It is thus an alarming and disquieting irony that under an NPP government with self-proclaimed Busia-proteges, who should know better, the galamsey menace has reached a sordid governance and corruption zenith, posing destructive developmental security and greed and avarice challenge to our country that is a confrontation to his legacy.
How on earth can a two-faced hypocritical Ghana, with its myriad agencies, wholesale political appointees and an inter-ministerial committee on illegal mining at the forefront of a four year vigorous zero-tolerance galamsey fight, be a world leader in the depletion of her pristine rain forest in order to attract international recrimination and threats of trading conditionalities as a call to renewed Action?
Indeed, why must it take a government to order the “guilt-ridden” military to again undertake a law enforcement operation of an uncontrolled, ran away economic activity, of the willy-nilly gathering away of precious gold, as though there were no laws or national process ownership?
What is the justification for the varied regulatory institutions that are collectively unable to deal with the menace which has reached crisis levels under their inept and compromised watch.
Currently, the Minerals Commission CEO has been asked to proceed on leave. Indeed he has been “axed” without an iota of accountability on his part, whereas his three Deputy Chief Executives created originally and superimposed as part of the hailed yet failed grand galamsey crisis intervention under Peter Amewu are firmly entrenched. There is ongoing lobbying by some of the Executives for the CEO position after a marked lack of delivery and the grand promise of galamsey banishment has resulted in a fierce galamsey scandalous resurgence.
It is instructive from the collective failure of the galamsey fight on the ground that ALL of the top Executives associated with the last CEO’s tenure should be disqualified. No One from among them should take over the CEO post as a permanent replacement.
All the cited state Regulatory Commissions especially the Minerals Commission certainly need forensic audits, critical reform and the appointment of non-partisan competent and knowledgeable individuals with legal, technical and industry expertise, integrity and commitment to Ghana’s interest first not “create loot and share” jobs for political pundits and compromised cronies with self-interest at its worst who shortchange the national purse.
As a matter of fact, the wholesale plunder of our forests and water bodies with the collusion of these Friends and family inundated regulatory agencies, calls for appropriate wholesale requisite prosecutions, imprisonments and recovery of derivative illicit assets of ‘top guns’ including insider industry participants who have violated their mandates with ill logic.
Is the presidential call for an independent international body to study and make further recommendations for reform of the involved regulatory agencies which sounds like a yawn of another bureaucratic imposition whose well-worn inputs may yet be hindered and or discarded, as usual, the requisite Answer after we have had over 20 years of Public Sector Reforms with bilateral support?
What we need is Transformed character, attitudinal change, ethics in governance and punitive sanctions for designated “untouchables”.
*A proper and thorough investigation or forensic review of the galamsey menace and the Minerals Commission without executive or political hindrance for example will reveal that:
i. The Minerals Commission overrides legal and regulatory strictures by issuance of mining and prospecting licenses in unpermitted mapped areas in violation of forest reserves and within restricted areas of water bodies. An example is the Gyimi river in Obuasi which has been parcelled out to cronies under the guise of community mining.
ii. Documented Technical advisory against such illegalities are surreptitiously overridden; requests for due diligence are set aside while illicit applications are approved due to clout and high-level connections. This includes cocoa and other farmlands which are capriciously annexed for exploitative galamsey with an official stamp of approval.
iii. The Commission has created licensed self- dealing monopolies that have captured and capsized the mining industry. Effective undercover sub-leases are given by licensees to empower second-tier galamseyers in this multi-billion dollar industry that deprives the nation of its licit wealth while protecting criminal galamseyers.
iv. There is no enforcement of appropriate laws when prospecting licensees fail to find gold within the allotted timeframe. This becomes an opportunity for further self-enrichment/underhand dealings.
v. The digitisation of license applications which was initiated to streamline and make the process more transparent has strangely stalled and must be reinstated with immediate effect to enable a remote approval process with measureable revenue and independent regular monitoring of the workflow to forestall frustrating processes that ensure corrupt practices.
vi. illicit applications that are clearly violative of forest reserves and within protected river body zones are recommended for and do get ministerial approval. This then guarantees illicit operations on the blind side of prudential requirements amid mafia type threats of assassination by deeply involved gangsters with high stakes and massive revenue links to high level political party hierachies. This ensures positive rhetoric without commensurate action
Thus, a Ghana crying foul should look not to Chinese gold diggers with superior technology as opined by the Chinese ambassador in a viral video. Can anyone blame him for Ghanaian infamous greed and ineptitude? Can any Ghanaian dare go to China to even attempt galamsey and come out alive?
We must look to the Politicians who wield power, the Minerals and Forestry commissions, the Environmental Protection agency, the Ghana Geological survey Authority and local authority officials including DCE’s and MCE’s and all. special appointments for the fight who turned around to bite the hand that feeds them and looked askance as reserved forest belts like Atiwa, Desiri, Aprampramah and premier water bodies are desecrated
We must particularly ask the inter-Ministerial committee on illegal mining for ANSWERS!
We must not forget complicit law enforcement Top Brass who protect only their pockets to the detriment of all
We must also look for answers from some of the high profile traditional Chiefs including those pretending to be in the forefront of the galamsey fight who are nonetheless guilty of collaboration and selfish enrichment which they now seek to denounce in broad daylight after facilitating the traumatic onslaught in the forests under their jurisdiction.
To the “minions” who assist in collective destruction of our resources claiming they have no alternatives, I am at a loss at voicing a plea when they so clearly take their cues from their amoral masters at the top echelons, they must nonetheless desist from the pillage since they also have a shared responsibility in protecting our environment and natural resources for posterity
There is seeming unstoppable racketeering which is as profitable to its criminal gold billionaires as it is dangerous to and impoverishes the nation by those tasked to protect her who are the same entities and personalities who have collectively engulfed the country in a disdainful “festival of rape”.
We must collectively fight systemic Malfunction, unconscionable corruption, incompetence, serial misgovernance and utter leadership morass.
The mantra “Ghana beyond aid” rings shallow when the very sources of domestic revenue are destroyed in the underhand promotion of criminalised small scale mining while we resort to run-away borrowing sprees in bonds and loans in double jeopardy.
Will we see from the newly minted fight a genuine commitment to ending the destructive galamsey outrage for a properly managed and well-governed small scale mining sector that would yield significant revenues that would obviate the conundrum of toying with our Agyapade3 gold royalties?
Whereas , one would hope so. the question that remains apt is: Whither “oman” Ghana ?
Ghana in its current existential anomaly is a nation in reckless and hollow lip service shackles when it comes to controlling of galamsey and environmental desecration. This makes one want to shed copious tears for a dying nation with self-inflicted wounds in the hypocritical pretext of a fight that is a long shot from being won.
We must indeed express renewed outrage for the right thing to be done. Yes the culture of complicit silence in Ghana must end as we finally look in our hearts and see if we can find love for each other and for our beleaguered country.
The writer can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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