Executive Director of Danquah Institute, Dr. Kingsley Nyarko has accused former President John Dramani Mahama of sabotaging the fight against illegal mining known in local parlance as ‘galamsey.’
According to the Chief Executive, the utterances and actions of the former President – who is lacing his boots to lead the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) after being made a one-term President in December 2016 – shows that he is clearly working against the interests of the country.
Mr. Mahama is receiving the flak for what looks like his clear endorsement of the destruction of the environment particularly water bodies by illegal miners after he condemned the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government and the security agencies code-named ‘Operation Vanguard’ who have been credited for stopping galamsey activities to a large extent at the so-called NDC ‘Unity Walk’in Kumasi recently.
The former President had given the illegal miners tacit support when he openly appeared to say that when given the nod he was going to make them have a field day.
“It is true that if we don’t do something about it, it will destroy the environment. But we need to apply wisdom. Because we’ve chased young people involved in illegal small-scale mining with soldiers in the past in this country but it didn’t work,” he fired in Kumasi on Saturday and added “but if we put a blanket ban and send soldiers after the young people, that is not the way to go.”
“As you stop illegal small-scale mining, at the same time you must put in place a livelihood package so that as you are displacing people from illegal mining, they have something to do….But when there is nothing to do but you are just chasing them, shooting them, it is not the way to go,” he also said.
Dr. Nyarko said however that the former President is being unpatriotic, noting “it is very sad, worrying and troubling when as a result of political power, politicians play to the gallery and act against the interest of the country.”
“It is clear that the former President has admitted, though sadly that he did not apply wisdom when in May 2013 he inaugurated a high-powered inter-ministerial committee, dubbed Anti-Galamsey Task Force to find lasting solution to illicit mining once and for all,” adding “Good to know that you did not apply wisdom in your case, sir; but we want you to understand that President Akufo-Addo’s intervention was influenced and backed by wisdom.”
He said unlike the former President, the current leader’s “inter- ministerial team headed by Prof. Frimpong Boateng was mandated not only to end the illegal mining menace, but it has a comprehensive intervention that also seeks to provide an alternative livelihood for the displaced miners, which they are feverishly working to achieve.”
“What is even more troubling about the sad and disturbing comment by ex-President Mahama is that when on March 1, 2014 he announced the second phase of the operation of the Task Force, he said they were going to introduce a livelihood package which was never done. For over 2 years, no such package was rolled out by his administration; but today he is lecturing us on the need to provide such an intervention.”
“We want to state emphatically that his advice is late; President Akufo-Addo is wise and knows that already and is doing that. When it comes to fighting illegal mining, former President Mahama was a miserable failure; in fact, he promoted it.”
He said “his legacy was a deplorable and degraded environment, destruction of our water bodies and farmlands, school children dropping out of school to engage in illegal mining, needless and preventable deaths and loss of mineral revenue to the State, among others.”
Dr. Nyarko who is a member of the National Service Scheme (NSS) board appealed passionately to the public especially small scale miners with genuine license “to work to bear with the President and government as they work to make the environment conducive and friendly for all,” saying “when we lose the fight against illegal mining, we will lose our good intention of providing a better country for the current and future generations.”
He urged Ghanaians “to be wary and worried about some politicians, mostly from the NDC who, as a result of desperation to capture political power, do not care a hoot about our lands being degraded as long as it will increase their political fortunes.”
He said that Ghana’s interest should be Mr. Mahama’s “major preoccupation and not the desperate and uncontrolled appetite to be president again,” adding “that desire is not patriotism, but parochial which has the potential of wasting the fortunes of this great nation of ours.”