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18.05.2021 General News

Stop burning mining equipment, be sincere in galamsey fight – NDC Eastern Region to Akufo-Addo amid burning of excavators

By Eric Nana Yaw Kwafo
Stop burning mining equipment, be sincere in galamsey fight – NDC Eastern Region to Akufo-Addo amid burning of excavators
LISTEN MAY 18, 2021

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the Eastern Region has called on the President Akufo-Addo to be sincere and transparent in his fight against illegal mining (gamalsey) in the country.

The President few weeks ago directed a group of soldiers and police officers to patron illegal mining sites in the country.

The military taskforxe team burnt seized equipment in what appears to be a radical move by government in its second leg of the fight against galamsey.

Having taken notice of the trend, the Eastern Regional Secretariat of the NDC has released a statement to condemn the burning of mining equipment.

“In as much as we condemn Galamsey, we also condemn the way and manner in which the new anti-Galamsey taskforce set up by President Akuffo Addo is fighting the menace,” a press release from the secretariat issued on May 17 reads.

It continued, “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 site by the taskforce is not a sustainable way and must ceased 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.”

Citing the burning of a number of excavators, 1 bulldozer belonging to Xtra Gold Mining Ltd, a firm said to have required papers to operate, the NDC says the current approach to fighting illegal mining must be looked at again.

It has therefore called for the “immediate suspension of the activities of the task force in the [Eastern] region and investigations conducted into this single event to inform a proper operational guide for the taskforce to insulate them from political manipulation.

“As it stands now, the current supposed fight is more symbolic than functional and its bound to fail just like the previous symbolic attempts. 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 press release from the NDC in the Eastern Region concludes.

Read the full release below:

For Immediate Release

NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS

EASTERN REGIONAL SECRETARIAT

AKUFO ADDO MUST BE SINCERE IN THE GALAMSEY FIGHT

The menace of illegal mining (Galamsey) is in no doubt polluting and destroying our water bodies and forest reserves, and as condemned by the National leadership of the party, the Eastern Regional Branch of the National Democratic Congress, also condemns it in no uncertain terms.

In as much as we condemn Galamsey, we also condemn the way and manner in which the new anti-Galamsey taskforce set up by President Akuffo 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 equipments and other evidence. For example, the random irregular burning of excavators found on mining site by the taskforce is not a sustainable way and must ceased 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.

For example, It has come to the attention of the Eastern Regional Secretariat of the NDC, that the new Taskforce against illegal mining burnt a number of excavators, 1 bulldozer belonging to Xtra Gold Mining Ltd, at Akyem Akropong in the Atiwa west District. This is where Hon. Amoako Atta, the cousin of the President Akufo-Addo and Minister for Roads and Highways is MP. It is also instructive to note that, it has emerged that Ms Kate Gyemfuah, the National Women's Organizer for the NPP is designated as the General Manager for Xtra Gold. It is public knowledge how Ms Kate Gyamfuah has bemoaned the horrible state of other roads in the Eastern Region apart from the hometowns of the President and his cousin, the roads minister and personally called him out to act without discrimination. This is few weeks before her company's equipments were burnt down.

Whilst we may not be interested in such petty internal squabbles, we are concerned that a similar pattern that led to the failure of the initial Operation Vanguard is unfolding.

A number of questions are being asked:

1. 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?

2. What happens after the burning of the equipment? Mining activities are Sociomaterial. The equipments dont automatically move. There are humans who moved them and benefit from the activities. So far materials are being burnt down, 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?

3. We have sighted documents from Xtra Gold that suggests their activities are legit even as recent as this year. Is this action by the anti-galamsey team part of a conspiracy to undeservedly propitiate "judgement debt" from a deliberate illegality from state actors?

4. Has the supposed fight against Galamsey become nepotistic to the extent that perceived critics of Akufo-Addo and his family members are penalised using state sanctioned operations such as "operation Halt"?

This and many lingering questions calls for an immediate suspension of the activities of the taskforce in the region and investigations conducted into this single event to inform a proper operational guide for the taskforce to insulate them from political manipulation.

As it stands now, the current supposed fight is more symbolic than functional and its bound to fail just like the previous symbolic attempts. 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!!

Signed;

Darlas Ampomah Williams

Regional Communication Officer

17-05-2021

Eric Nana Yaw Kwafo
Eric Nana Yaw Kwafo

Journalist

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