Chief Editor of the UN News, Ben Dotse Malor, has called on the Akufo-Addo-led government to fulfil its promise to end illegal small scale mining otherwise known as galamsey.
Mr Malor said President Akufo-Addo will be letting many Ghanaians down if his pledge to end the environmental menace even if it costs him the presidency becomes a mere a political talk.
“We heard President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo say that he was launching a fight against this menace of galamsey and he will fight it to end, even if it costs him an election or elections.
“I don’t think there is any Ghanaian...who did not support what the President said. But words must be matched with actions,” he said Saturday on news analysis programme, Newsfile.
The comments by the former Communications Advisor to former President John Mahama comes on the back of the backlash that has greeted Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo-Maafo’s, justification for government’s discontinuation of a case against a notorious Chinese illegal miner.
At a town hall meeting in the United States, Mr Osafo-Maafo sought to explain why Aisha Huang, known for her exploits in illegal mining was only deported after she was arrested by state authorities.
A Ghanaian participant at the event wanted the government’s justification for letting go of the woman known as “Galamsey Queen.”
Responding to the questioner, the Senior Minister said Ghana has good diplomatic relationship with China and intends to partner the Asian country in key infrastructural projects, citing the $2 billion Sinohydro deal.
That comment has been widely condemned, with some calling for the Senior Minister’s resignation.
Speaking on the Joy FM/MultiTV news analysis programme, Mr Malor noted that “the spirits of Ghanaians who have seen the damage being done agreed with the President [regarding his pledge to end illegal mining]. Many of us willed him on.
“Now…we have just heard the Senior Minister, someone who has held several key portfolios in previous governments; someone with a lot of clouts saying that somebody can come from another country into Ghana, commit a crime, flout the rules and the laws of Ghana but for other economic considerations, we will let that person go.”
He cited the 2005 arrest and imprisonment of a Ghanaian Member of Parliament, Eric Amoateng, in the United States for drug trafficking as an example of a country where laws work. He wants Ghana to do the same.
Chinese Ambassador is right
Recently, the Chinese Ambassador to Ghana, Shi-Ting Wang, said Ghanaians must be blamed for the rise in illegal mining activities in Ghana.
According to him, no Chinese knows the location to any of Ghana's mining communities or reserve, saying it is Ghanaians who introduce them to the trade.
The ambassador's comments were in response to growing concerns about the activities of Chinese miners in Ghana's mining communities.
He said, “we don’t know where your gold is. We don’t issue visas too for the Chinese people coming to Ghana. Ghanaians issue the visas. Ghanaians aid the Chinese to where they can find your gold.
“Why are Chinese not doing illegal mining in South Africa where there is also a lot of gold...because they cannot do that there and the locals don’t support such illegalities.”
Wading into the Chinese Ambassador’s comment that has since grabbed news headlines, Mr noted that the diplomat was being brutally honest.
“Why should it take the Chinese ambassador to Ghana to tell us what we should ourselves be telling ourselves? Should we Ghanaians give this man a prize for brutal honesty in telling us where the problem lies?” he quizzed.
He said Mr Wang was “calling a spade a shovel. Not even a spade and it is a direct indictment on all of us…you cannot fault the Chinese Ambassador. The problem is resting with every one of us Ghanaians.”
Illegal mining activities in minerals-rich Ashanti, Western, Eastern, and parts of the Volta region have destroyed many areas of life.
Picture: River Pra in the Eastern Region has been destroyed by illegal mining activities.
It has left in its wake environmental and ecological problems. Key water bodies and aquatic life have been dangerously destroyed.
Some freshwater bodies, which served as intake points for the Ghana Water Company Limited, have been abandoned because the water bodies have either became impossible to treat, or are being treated at very a high cost due to the extent of chemical contamination.
In 2017, President Akufo-Addo launched Operation Vanguard to boost the fight against the environmental menace.
Picture: Mr Dominic Nitiwul (2nd right), Minister of Defence, and Mr Ambrose Dery (right), Minister of the Interior, interacting with the security personnel at the launch of Operation Vanguard in Accra in 2017.
Watch more in the video below