‘Galamsey plague’ fightback idea: a reader’s opinion …

BY: By Ajoa Yeboah-Afari

The following is a rejoinder to my column of August 28, 2021, headlined ‘Galamsey plague: time for communities to fight back boldly!’:


I have read in part your article.

I am not too sure whether you understand what partisan politics is, versus sociopolitical activism.

I am unable to accept your PR calisthenics in favour of the Government, or the insinuation about the #FixTheCountry Movement, as to whether they scored political points.

Indeed, if they failed to score a political point, it would have been a waste of time and effort.

Social action is necessitated by a failure in political administration.

That said, "communities" are not autonomous independent entities.

If you are understood well, it means that the state actors have failed, for which reason "communities" should step in to fight the menace of galamsey.

This is clearly a symptom and an admission of a failed state.

Constitutional authority is VESTED in the President on behalf of the citizens via Parliament.

Indeed, the citizens do not have the constitutional authority to deploy the forces of coercion.

It is in the hands of the President alone.

I find it very difficult and painful to accept citizens being either blamed or being called upon to do things others have been constitutionally clothed to do.

Shielding the incompetence and negligence of established constitutional actors in Ghana is the fuel for a sycophantic gung-ho society – a gullible, docile head-in-the-sand people.

For instance, the young Army Major who was brutally murdered has not seen justice administered yet; those who stole equipment in the full glare of the Government have not been punished.

Perhaps we are headed for anarchy.

John Annanson
P.O. Box CT 4583
Cantonments Accra.

… and the columnist’s response

Your opening salvo, “I have read in part your article”, is intriguing – and revealing.

Nonetheless, I think your honesty is commendable.

It’s not often that somebody confesses that they have not read fully a piece of writing that they are criticising!

I have also noted your condescending tone.

Nevertheless, I’m gratified that despite reading only a part of my article, you were prompted to contribute your view.

Conceivably, what every columnist wishes for is that an article they have written gets read; better still, that it elicits a reaction.

Thus, the objective was achieved; indeed, doubly so, because you read my article (even if only “in part”), and you also responded. Bliss for me!

But then maybe your salvo was only meant as an insult.

I’m mystified that you found the article an example of “PR calisthenics”.

Anyhow, if you judged it akin to public relations acrobatics in favour of the Government, I believe that it is my right to support any action of the Government which I think is helpful to the society.

Similarly, needless to say, you too are free to oppose any actions of the Government.

The national Constitution, which you refer to, gives us the assurance of freedom of choice, freedom of association and assembly.

As you say you gave my article only a cursory reading, I will refer you to the last paragraphs which stated, among other things:
“There has to be a sustained, bold, fightback by the affected communities.

“They are the immediate victims, so they must be encouraged and empowered to join in the offensive against galamsey, (emphasis added), or scale up their resistance.”

Nowhere did I blame the affected communities, nor did I state, or even suggest, that the communities should take over the work of “others constitutionally clothed to do so”.

My belief is that the chances of success in the anti-galamsey fight will improve enormously if the affected communities too, join the crusade.

But I wonder upon what basis you conclude that “perhaps we are headed for anarchy”.

I certainly hope it’s not wishful thinking on your part!

All of us have a stake in ensuring a peaceful Ghana, a country where assisting the security agencies to fight crime will not be seen as “shielding incompetence of established constitutional actors”, but rather seen as patriotism.

Thanks again for taking the trouble to write – even if you didn’t read the whole article you decided to comment on.
Best wishes. ___________________________________

Two perspectives on the Ama Forson story

My column of September 4, 2021 (headlined ‘Compensate Ama Forson …’), was about Ms Forson, wrongfully convicted in 2016, and recently in the news.

Sentenced to 11 years in prison, she served four years before she regained her freedom through the ‘Justice for All Programme’ and a non-governmental organisation.

Who speaks for the vulnerable?

Well said! Who speaks for the vulnerable and the voiceless in our society?

For example, I was once arrested at a check point in Kumasi by a police officer. My offence?

They said they suspected that my car was illegally imported.

But no checks were done to prove the offence.

All they said was that my car looked newer than its registered number plate!

When I asked if they couldn’t check with the DVLA, they said “are you the one to teach us our job?”

They detained me for about three hours.

Finally, one officer told me “you can't argue with the police.

Even in court, what the police officer says is final; so find something for him to release your car to you”.

I was compelled to pay GH¢200 before my car was released.

Sometimes you are willing to stand for your right, but which branch of the law will support you?

Charles Papa
P.O. Box 643
Ofankor - Accra

Too much injustice!

When I read your piece about Ama Forson, I was very moved.

Cases of wrongful imprisonment are always sad.

This reminds me of a case some years ago, about a school teacher who was wrongfully convicted and spent about 15 years in prison.

Yet, all he got as compensation was GH¢45,000!

There is too much injustice in this country.

Kobina deGraft-Johnson

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Thanks very much, Mr Papa and Mr deGraft-Johnson.

It's always encouraging to get feedback from readers.

I hope that the relevant authorities, too, are taking note of your views.

Best wishes.

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