Major Mahama died for nothing
Resignations from the highest office of the land, anywhere in the world, are rare and come usually after protracted internal power-play.
When on August 8, 1974, Richard Milhous Nixon announced his resignation as the 37th President of the United States, he was bowing to pressures from leaders of his party after two years of bitter public debate over the Watergate scandals.
On November 22, 1990, when Margaret Thatcher, three times British Prime Minister, announced her resignation after eleven years in office, it was the result of disaffection within her own party.
Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson resigned from his seat in the House of Commons in connection with wild parties held in his (Prime Minister’s) official home office when the country was in lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In Ghana, resignations from high office have become unthinkable. In his broadcast to announce the coup of December 31, Rawlings asked Ghanaians to take him to the firing range “if what I’ve tried to do for the second time in my life does not meet the approval of Ghanaians”.
The question was, who, in Ghana, could dare tell Rawlings that he had failed?
I am not unmindful of the supreme sacrifices of the few brave ones.
On July 11, 2017, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, addressing a two-day workshop on galamsey for traditional leaders, vowed that “I am prepared to put my Presidency on the line on this matter.”
As I write this Tuesday morning, rivers that have been with us for centuries are drying up.
Farmlands are being destroyed and our water is polluted.
It is estimated that we lose $2.3 billion annually to galamsey.
Five years later, on October 5, 2022, Akufo-Addo, speaking to the National House of Chiefs at Manyhia on Wednesday, admitted that his government “is yet to win the fight against illegal mining”.
Everybody knows what this means, yet who dares to bell the cat: you would be tagged instantly.
Yet we know that when someone puts their “job on the line”, it admits of no other interpretations, no ambiguities in interpretation.
Our President has all but thrown in the towel.
Call it candour, call it honesty, the President is stating one fact: he has failed – the biggest battle we ever fought.
We failed because, despite all the nice words, the President has not seen, and does not see galamsey the way it is.
A friend and senior professional colleague, Frank Apeagyei, sees it this way:
“It is a war, simplicita, and it ought to be fought as such.
Wars are not fought with laws and committees.”
I couldn’t agree more.
In 1862, German Chancellor Otto von Bismark told his people that the great questions of the day would not be decided by speeches and majority resolutions — but by blood and iron!"
Bismark said it at the time, and it is true for all time, that the weak will always be devoured by the strong."
In Ghana, our leaders, except for Rawlings, have emboldened and empowered the galamseyers into devourers.
If galamsey were a war in the language of Akufo-Addo, why would his government free Aisha Huang, the Chinese woman described as the ‘Queen of Galamsey’?
We have failed because of the President’s strategy for prosecuting the war.
Commissions and committees are good, but, at best, they will only present a report – as Professor Frimpong Boateng did.
He submitted a report that was not only ignored for two whole years but was finally trashed.
He was not only questioned but also arrested, even if technically so, while those he accused had never been invited - even for tea and biscuits!
We have failed because galamsey is the reward for party loyalty.
Is any Ghanaian surprised when the Attorney-General says there is no hard evidence to nail the so-called big fishes?
Did the A-G look for the evidence? The award-winning documentary by Joy FM’s Erastus Asare Donkor has evidence to put 20 culprits into prison.
The President must be a man under moral pressure – or is he?
When certain individuals generally considered the moral conscience of the nation, start voicing their worry about national affairs, Akufo-Addo must worry that all his holy mantras are in tatters.
Two of them — the respected Justice Atuguba and Professor Stephen Adei — have made statements that question the integrity of the political leadership of the country.
There have been recent references to “people without official positions but who push through agendas”.
These are voices no President dare to ignore.
These people don’t mean ill.
And, whatever happened to the “missing” excavators?
The writer is Executive Director,
Centre for Communication and Culture.