Nana Kwadwo Jantuah: Beyond the galamsey dialogue, what next?

Wait a minute! Allow me to take you back in time.

On July 17, 2017, President Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo, speaking at a two-day workshop on galamsey for traditional leaders from various parts of the country said and I quote, “I have said it in the Cabinet, and perhaps this is the first time I am making this public, that I am prepared to put my Presidency on the line on this matter.”

““If by the grace of God, my party allows me to go again and I have the health and everything to go again but I do not win (because of this galamsey fight), then I will say to myself: ‘Well, this is a choice I have to make as a human being.’ Do you do what is right or what you think will make you get along? I think you do what is right and what you are required to do”

Well, it appears that the President was committed to fighting the galamsey menace as early as 2017, happily putting his Presidency on the line. Do his latest utterances in yesterday’s Stakeholder consultation meeting on this same galamsey matter imply that he previously failed in the galamsey fight?

Why are we holding another roundtable debate at the expense of the taxpayer if he didn’t lose the fight? If he lost the battle, as some argue based on the ‘back to basics’ stakeholder meeting held yesterday and today, what happened to his pledge, and what exactly did he mean by ‘putting his Presidency on the line’?’

Anyway, why are we having this debate again now, when the then Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Kwaku Asoma-Cheremeh, claimed unequivocally on September 12, 2019, at the Ministry of Information’s Meet-the-Press Series that the government’s battle against illegal mining “galamsey” in the country has (had) an 85 per cent success rate?

Did he then lie to us, and the President allow a square peg, as it were, to remain in charge of that Ministry? What is the basis of this conference, which ended today with taxpayer funding, if we did indeed achieve an 85 percent success rate? Anyway, let’s compare the President’s speeches from then and now, and ask ourselves what the real solution is, and whether these politicians have the political will to fight this threat.

On July 11, 2017
“So the reason you have been brought here today is to have the opportunity to share with you our thoughts, our strategy, our thinking and I ask of you, in the name of generations yet unborn, your support and active involvement in bringing this menace of galamsey to an end, I have great confidence in the Ghanaian people and their traditional leaders. They will always stand up during critical times.”

April 14 2021
“I am determined to enforce the laws on illegal mining no matter the subject, high or low. I will, however, not act on hearsay or mere allegations without more. I will not hesitate to act though where the evidence is hard before the police.
“And I will do so irrespective of the standing of the person or persons involved. That is the true meaning of equality before the law. There are aspects of our national life which are of first subject matters of partisan politics. We must however come to the understanding that small scale mining with the requirement to do away with the illegalities in that sector should be beyond partisan politics.

“Some subjects simply cannot be part of our everyday politicking and I use this forum to insist that illegal small-scale mining and matters relating to it should be one of such issues requiring national efforts”

Will this debate ever come to an end, and is this the standard rhetoric? Ah well…


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