President Akufo-Addo has asked chiefs in the country to help take partisan politics out of the fight against illegal mining (galamsey).
At a meeting with the National House of Chiefs at Manhyia, Kumasi, in the Ashanti Region on Wednesday, 5 October 2022, the president said it was important the fight is depoliticised for progress to be made.
“Since I took office on the 7th of January 2017, nearly six years ago, I have made it the central feature of my presidency, to lead the efforts to rid our country of this menace, which we all now call galamsey. Indeed, it was an important aspect of my inaugural address of that day”, the president noted.
He told the chiefs, however: “It has not been easy, it has not been popular and we have not got the immediate results that I was looking for”.
Indeed, he added, “in the last elections of 2020, my stance on the issue, cost my party and I significant losses in the mining communities”.
“It turned out that my statement that I was putting my presidency on the line in the fight against galamsey, was neither bombastic nor recklessness; it was the simple truth”, the president told the gathering of chiefs.
He said the menace persists despite several measures put in place against it by his government in the past six years.
“We have tried many initiatives, including that of the community mining scheme and the establishment of the new legal regime for dealing with the perpetrators of this phenomenon, which has imposed severe sanctions on those Ghanaians and foreigners convicted of illegal mining but still, we have not won the fight”, he bemoaned.
“It is obvious that if we are to win the fight, you [chiefs] and I are to take the lead to collaborate closely to do so and that is why I’m here today”, the president said.
He said after the meeting, “I’ll also be meeting the other half of local government – the metropolitan, municipal and district executives in the 90 metropolitan, municipal and district areas across the country where mining activities take place, to seek their active collaboration, too”.
“There are many requests I intend to make in the closed-door session of our meeting but one of the most significant, which I have to state now, is to seek your assistance to take partisan political interest out of the fight against galamsey”, he mentioned.
“It can only succeed if it is a truly national battle which no one seeks to exploit for political gain as we saw in the last election. The progress of our country depends on all of us; all citizens of Ghana, all fellow Ghanaians, pulling together to defeat this existential threat to our future”, the president rallied.
He stressed: “I have said it before: we are not against mining but we cannot accept mining in a manner that destroys our country. Our nation has always been a mining nation. Indeed, in the 15th century, when the first Europeans, the Portuguese, came to our shores, they called the first European-influenced town, El Mina, meaning The Mine.”