President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has renewed his commitment to tackling the issue of illegal small scale mining popularly referred to as ‘galamsey’ in the country.
Delivering the State of the Nation Address in Parliament on Thursday, the President indicated that government still stands by its position to use all available means to address the galamsey menace which continues to destroy large portions of the country’s vegetation cover and water resources.
This comes at a time when many have taken on the government for what they consider as government’s failure to deal with the menace as promised in the run-up to the 2016 general elections.
While commending the efforts of the media coalition against galamsey and the Inter-ministerial Committee against Illegal Mining, Nana Addo mentioned that he will ensure that no one in government neglects his or her responsibility in the fight to protect Ghana’s environment.
“When we came into office in January 2017, galamsey activities were rampant in many parts of the country. Our lands, forests and river bodies were being systematically degraded and destroyed without any care and this had been the case for several years. The previous NDC government had given up the fight against galamsey but we determined that this was an intolerable situation and we owed it to generations unborn to tackle the problem and save our environment. I was therefore not under any illusion about the size and scope of the problem that we are taking on.”
“I was cheered by the support of the large population that recognized the dangers posed by the degradation of our lands and water bodies and the needless deaths of many young people who were buried alive in makeshift mining pits. Mr. Speaker, the threat posed to the future of our country by galamsey is grave. We cannot shirk our responsibility in the fight against galamsey. Government will not weaken its stance and welcomes the continued support of the media coalition. The Inter-ministerial Committee against Illegal Mining has been working very hard and has some successes.”
NPP warns NDC against politicization of galamsey fight
The governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) says the fight against illegal mining popularly known as “galamsey” should be depoliticized.
The menace according to the party, affects all and thus a collective effort is needed to tackle it.
This appeal comes on the back of accusation by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) that the government has failed to deal with illegal mining; a situation that is adversely affecting the country.
Director of Communications for the NPP, Yaw Buaben Asamoa said all hands must be on deck to end galamsey.
“We are aware that, the allegations of the missing excavators have brought the issue of galamsey to the fore. Happily, the matter has been referred to the police. We expect institutions of enforcement to be bold about it. Ideally, we would have wished the NDC leadership will deal with us rather than engage in petty politics that divide us. We believe that this should have been bi-partisan so that we deal with it in the context of challenges that face all of us and in a better way. Typical of the NDC, they have reduced this whole thing into three things – blame the president, scream loudly that the solution is not working and seek for the vote of the people without any alternative.”
Trade of words
In the past week, the NDC has described the government’s fight against galamsey as a failure because of several actions by government appointees and the issue of missing seized equipment.
But the NPP, on the other hand, has absolved itself from any wrongdoing insisting the fight against the menace is in full force.
Already, various bodies have called on the government to provide details on the progress or otherwise made on the fight against galamsey, with the NDC, demanding for a public exhibition of the seized excavators.