Of all the activities that Okyeman is apt to be proud to claim the foremost position, "Galamsey," or illegal mining, ought to be the last.
And so when on the second of his two-day working tour of the Sunrise Region President Mahama lamented the fact that Akyem-Abuakwa lands had sustained the worst environmental impact of illegal mining activities, I couldn't help but be filled with anguish and anger. See "Kyebi Is The Headquarters Of Galamsey".
I feel a lot of anguish because I spent a considerable span of my childhood years in this great and naturally well-endowed sub-region of the country, including almost all the towns mentioned by Mr. Mahama where Galamsey has taken a tragic toll on the lives of the residents. Kyebi, as most of my readers may already know, is my fatherland. I also began my formal education at the Kwabeng Presbyterian Primary School; and frequented the Anyinam health center, or clinic, as a malaria-afflicted patient while in the second grade at the Kankang (now Sekyere) Presbyterian Primary School.
Then also, Apedwa is where my mother's side of the family has been settled for several generations, having effectively moved out of Nkronso, partly for conjugal purposes, and partly as a result of post-Christian cultural disengagement. Osenasi was also one of the frequently visited pastoral stations ministered by my maternal grandfather, the Rev. T. H. Sintim (1896-1982), himself a bona fide native of Begoro on his mother's side of the family. And then, of course, Asiakwa is the font of my sociocultural and academic and civic upbringing.
My conniption, or anger, on the other hand, stems from the fact that our leaders, both local and national, traditional and modern, have played a central role in the Galamsey-driven destruction of Akyem-Abuakwa lands and water bodies. And so it is at best cold comfort to learn of President Mahama's having earmarked the British equivalent of $125 million for the provision of potable water in the most badly affected areas. Now, what is left to be done is an aggressive reclamation of the heavily contaminated lands, or whatever may be left of the same.
Merely exhorting Galamsey operatives to observe environmentally friendly rules is nothing short of the inexcusably oxymoronic. The parliamentarians and district assembly representatives of the affected areas would need to pressure the President into taking more drastic measures to stop Galamsey activities, in much the same way that Mr. Mahama is widely reported to be doing in the Central and Western regions, and elsewhere.
That Okyeman, in general, and Akyem-Abuakwa, in particular, has contributed immensely to the seminal development of our national economy, especially in the areas of cocoa, diamond, timber and food production, ought to staunchly encourage President Mahama to double up his quality-of-life rehabilitation efforts.
The Okyenhene, Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori-Panyin II, also needs to be up and doing more than occasionally issuing pontifical pronouncements on the need for the jealous protection of the environment, and to making our lands healthily productive for both our present generation and posterity.
He would need to team up with Mr. Mahama to radically meliorate the grievous damage done to both Okyeman lands and his own controversial image and reputation on the critical question of Galamsey depredation, and degradation, of our environment. For there are healthier ways to making a decent living than the predatory methods of the Galamsey industry.