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.
Addressing a news conference today, Wednesday, 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.”
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.
So far, six persons have been arrested in connection with the missing excavators and since granted bail.
The six, include the suspended First Vice Chairman of the New Patriotic Party in the Central Region, Ekow Ewusi, who was also heard in an audio recording with the Environment, Science and Technology Minister, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng discussing the prospect of mining on some concessions.
Special Prosecutor petitioned to probe alleged corruption in galamsey fight
The Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA) has also petitioned the Office of the Special Prosecutor to investigate alleged corruption in the enforcement of small scale mining laws.
ASEPA wants the Inter-Ministerial Committee against Illegal Mining and the anti-illegal mining task force, Operation Vanguard, to be the focus of the probe by the Special Prosecutor.
In the petition, it highlighted the need for “full investigations into the misappropriation of seized items such as excavators, mining equipment, gold and weapons by the IMCIM through the fight against illegal mining.”
The groups said recent allegations of corruption in the fight against illegal mining “show that the whole fight against illegal mining was a sham and a plot to get licensed small scale miners out of business so that some elements in the government can take over small scale mining in the country.”
The group further held that the allegations “border on offences such as stealing, bribery, corruption, abuse of public office for private gain and other serious offences” which fall under the purview of the Special Prosecutor.