The Eastern Regional branch of the National Democratic (NDC) has asked President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to be sincere in the fight against illegal small-scale mining also known as ‘galamsey’.
According to the NDC, the current fight against illegal mining is more symbolic than functional, and is bound to fail.
“The President, his officers, family members and NPP party galamsey aficionados are only leveraging on the genuine anger of Ghanaians and collective resolve to deal with the menace, to protect their galamsey kingpins, whilst using a few of them who have fallen out with them as scapegoats. This must stop immediately.”
The NDC in the Eastern Region in a statement condemned the approach adopted by the government in the renewed fight against the menace.
“Inasmuch as we condemn galamsey, we also condemn the way and manner in which the new anti-galamsey taskforce set up by President Akufo-Addo is fighting the menace.”
“We believe that such a national endeavour should be done in a transparent, accountable and sincere manner, with a visible chain of custody of equipment and other evidence.”
“For example, the random irregular burning of excavators found on mining sites by the task force is not a sustainable way and must cease forthwith. Such an approach, akin to mob justice, is open to abuses and presents itself as a tool in the hands of powerful political entities in the pursuit of personal vendetta.”
The party is concerned that a “similar pattern that led to the failure of the initial Operation Vanguard is unfolding.”
It further questioned what it calls the “scapegoating strategy” being employed in the fight against illegal mining in the country.
“The mining activities of Kate Gyemfuah and other National and Regional Executives are publicly known in the region. How come only Kate Gyamfua has been a victim? Will such a scapegoating strategy help fight the menace?”
“What happens after the burning of the equipment? Mining activities are socio-material. The equipment does not automatically move. There are humans who moved them and benefit from the activities. So far, materials are being burnt down, but we are yet to see the arrest and prosecution of Ms. Kate Gyamfuah if indeed she and her company is in defiance of presidential directives. When will this happen?”
It also alleged that ‘Operation Halt’ is being used to penalize critics of the President.
“We have sighted documents from Xtra Gold that suggests their activities are legitimate even as recent as this year. Is this action by the anti-galamsey team part of a conspiracy to undeservedly propitiate judgment debt from deliberate illegality from state actors?”
“Has the supposed fight against galamsey become nepotistic to the extent that perceived critics of Akufo-Addo and his family members are penalized using state-sanctioned operations such as Operation Halt?”
The Regional NDC Secretariat thus called for an immediate suspension of the activities of the taskforce in the region to allow for investigations to be conducted.
“This will inform a proper operational guide for the taskforce to insulate them from political manipulation,” the statement added.
Currently, the Ghana Armed Forces has commenced the second phase of a security operation to fight illegal small-scale mining affecting water bodies and forest reserves.
A statement from the Ministry of Information said the exercise, dubbed ‘Operation Halt II’, is aimed at “removing all persons and logistics involved in mining on water bodies”.
“The new phase of the operation focuses on the tributaries of the Pra River, which have also been significantly affected by the activities of illegal miners,” the statement added.
The Ghana Armed Forces has also commenced armed patrols of the Pra river.
The operation is being undertaken by 400 men of all ranks.