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Renew commitment to fight galamsey — NDC

BY: Victor Kwawukume
Mr Sammy Gyamfi,Communication Officer of the NDC
Mr Sammy Gyamfi,Communication Officer of the NDC

The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has called for a renewed commitment to the fight against ‘galamsey’.

It said the level of commitment of the government to winning the fight against galamsey was low.

The NDC, in that regard, has called on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to overhaul the Inter-Ministerial Committee against Illegal Mining (IMCIM) and urgently review the approach to the fight against illegal mining.

It has also urged the President to show genuine commitment and dedication to the fight against illegal mining.

The call by the NDC comes at the heel of comments made by the Senior Minister, Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, to the effect that Ghana was benefitting from its relationship with China and for that matter, jailing Aisha Huang, the Chinese lady who was arrested for her involvement in illegal mining, would not help the country’s relationship with China.

The Anas video on galamsey

Addressing a press conference on Tuesday as part of its Moment of Truth Series, the Communication Officer of the NDC, Mr Sammy Gyamfi, also recounted that recently, ace investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas released a video documentary entitled “galamsey fraud”, which exposed various alleged corrupt and underhand dealings by leading officials of the government associated with the galamsey fight.

One of such officials, the NDC said, was Mr Charles Bissue, the Secretary to the IMCIM and Presidential Staffer.

“Mr Bissue was caught on video abusing his office to facilitate illegal mining activities. Another NPP operative caught on video was Mr Andy Owusu, an aide to the Ashanti Regional Chairman of the NPP,” the NDC stressed.

Sadly, the NDC said, in spite of the audio-visual evidence, no action had been taken  to punish them.
 
For the NDC, this glaring inertia on the part of the government to prosecute the government officials for their crime was not only ample testimony of a lack of commitment to the fight against galamsey but a monumental betrayal of the trust of Ghanaians.

Compromise on galamsey fight

According to the NDC, apart from those damning revelations, several actors within the government had in one way or another done things that sought to compromise the fight against galamsey.

The NDC recalled that sometime in 2018, the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Hajia Alima Mahama, stated publicly that some Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) of the government were actively engaged in galamsey and indicated that she was going to publicly disclose their identities and sanction them.

However till date, the party said, “we still don’t know the identities of the said MMDCEs the minister talked about”.  

Again, it said the former Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Mr John-Peter Amewu, also made an observation that members of the Operation Vanguard Team had been compromised by illegal miners, same observations which were later corroborated by the Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Eric Daffour.

Also, the Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission, Mr Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, the NDC said, not too long ago stated that superior officers  in the government were undermining the galamsey fight and were actually aiding the return of illegal miners to plunder the nation’s forests.

“All these pieces of evidence pointed to the fact that the fight against illegal mining was headed the wrong direction,” the NDC posited.

The NDC, therefore, charged the government, as a matter of urgency, to weed out and bring to book all corrupt officials who had compromised the collective fight against Illegal mining.