Name And Shame, Destroy And Restore

Illegal mining aka ‘galamsey’

An ultimatum has been given to players in the illegal galamsey industry to cease operations or face the wrath of the state.

Perhaps this time around, we are going to see a sincere approach to an entrenched challenge about which governments have paid lip-service over the years: one that would see the environmental degradation – now a seeming intractable challenge – being addressed in the most efficient fashion.

While some would say ‘let’s wait and see,’ we would prefer the ‘we are watching’ option. We would certainly expose them who seek to douse the fire that is the resolution to end galamsey.

It is heartwarming that these past four weeks have witnessed an unusual fervour in the anti-galamsey crusade in which most Ghanaians are united in a common resolve to stem.

A former minister, Inusah Fuseni, has spoken about how the Chinese envoy to Ghana put spanners in the works as he (minister) tried to fight the menace. .

The envoy, he said, resorted to complaining to the then president so his (minister’s) wings could be clipped. Naturally, he was unable to continue with a meaningful mission against the menace, the challenge appearing to have been garbed in diplomacy. What a revelation!

We have come to the realization that a ‘name and shame’ response to the many avenues available for tackling galamsey has hardly been considered as an option.

We have largely pointed at the presence of prominent Ghanaians fronting for the expatriate galamsey operatives, but for whose complicity the impunity underpinning the illegality could not have survived this long.

Galamsey is real and those who consider it a fairy tale fit for fiction books must wake up and join in the national effort to stamp it out. We are for a declaration of war against it, lest we suffer an irreparable damage to our environment – a natural asset we do not own but only hold in trust for generations yet unborn. There is no gainsaying the fact that ours is the most irresponsible group of Ghanaians to ever live in our part of the world.

For how long shall we continue to fold our arms as the quality of our environment deteriorates dangerously? In this matter of life and death, as it were, there is no neutral position. We are either in favour of protecting the environment or siding with the destroyers, whose motives are driven by self-interests.

A few days ago, we observed some donations being made to the law enforcement system by persons who import sophisticated equipment used in the extractive industry. Unfortunately, the extractive industry being referred to is the illegal one.

What could be the motive behind such a gesture? It is about a generosity without strings. It would seem one required to establish a certain mutual and beneficial relationship between the donor and the recipient, even if the equipment so imported are used to destroy mother nature.

We may have to consider the donations made by certain classes of donors, because some should not be entertained at all, given the implications of such gestures on the national interests.

There is a correlation between the movement of heavy earthmoving equipment to the Western Region and the unequalled number of galamsey sites in the region. Many of Ghana’s rivers meander through this region as they head for the sea. Today the blue or green colour of these water bodies has been replaced with muddy brown not fit for direct consumption by man.

Being the source of most of the water drunk by Ghanaians, the Ghana Water Company Limited would have to spend more money purifying the polluted water.

The Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) should be empowered without undue political interference to deal decisively with the suspects, mostly Asian immigrants, whose mission is to mine illegally.

Very serious issues, especially about the life and death of our country require extraordinary responses. This is what we are asking for, not mere promises or ultimatums without teeth.

We must destroy the galamsey sites and restore the integrity of these places.