The Danquah Institute (DI) has accused former President Mahama of endorsing illegal mining also known as galamsey.
According to DI, “when it comes to fighting illegal mining, former President Mahama was a miserable failure; in fact, he promoted it”.
This was contained in a statement signed and released by Dr Kingsley Nyarko, Executive Director for DI, on Monday 30 April 2018.
He was reacting to comments by former President Mahama who raised concerns about the approach in dealing with illegal mining as government moves to tackle the menace with the deployment of a joint military and police taskforce.
Mr Mahama also admonished government to find alternative means of livelihood for those engaged in the act during the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Unity Walk on Sunday 29 April.
In response, DI said Mr Mahama’s “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”.
DI added that it was good to know that Mr Mahama “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”.
DI further admonished Mr Mahama to put the interest of the country first and not his ambitions to be president in 2020.
“Ghana’s interest should be his major preoccupation and not the desperate and uncontrolled appetite to be president again. That desire is not patriotism, but parochial which has the potential of wasting the fortunes of this great nation of ours. The fight against illicit mining should be a collective responsibility,” the release added.
Below is the full statement:
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. The above is exactly what former President Mahama and his NDC are noted for. At their “unity” walk in Kumasi on Saturday, apart from his party members parading placards that clearly show his unwillingness to help the fight against illegal mining, he went as far as to discredit the efforts of both the government and the joint military and police task force mandated to ensure that the activities of illegal miners are brought to a halt.
According to ex-President Mahama, “…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 continued “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.”
From the above quotes, 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. 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. His 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 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. 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.
We want to plead with all and sundry, 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. 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. That is why we need to make it clear to 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. We need also to understand that when this fight is lost, our future is lost, our hope is gone, and we shall become miserable and wretched. The negative consequences of illegal mining, apart from lost revenue to the State, include adverse health effects, school dropout, poor school performance, pollution of our water bodies, less crop yields, decrease revenue from agricultural exports, lack of portable drinking water, needless deaths, among others.
In concluding, we would want to plead with former President Mahama to think more about Ghana than himself and his ambition to lead this country again. We expect him to be a bit patriotic and support the advancement, progress and development of the country. Ghana’s interest should be his major preoccupation and not the desperate and uncontrolled appetite to be president again. That desire is not patriotism, but parochial which has the potential of wasting the fortunes of this great nation of ours. The fight against illicit mining should be a collective responsibility.
Dr. Kingsley Nyarko