The Greater Accra Regional NDC, like many Ghanaians is utterly bemused and forcefully condemns the comments made by Ghana's senior minister, Osafo Marfo on galamsey. The senior minister said and i quote. “Putting that lady (Aisha Huang) in jail in Ghana is not going to solve your economic problems. It is not going to make you happy or me happy, that’s not important, the most important thing is that she has been deported from Ghana". He further stated,
"Putting the woman in prison won't bring us money. It won't help because the Synohydro $2bn Project Government have rolled up, it's a Chinese Company that is helping Ghana so putting the Galamsey Queen in Prison will distort the Relationship Ghana has with China". This is his direct statement.
On July 31, 2017, President Akufo Addo launched operation Vanguard group in "fulfilment" of his campaign promise. The aim of the group was to combat the activities of galamseyers by the most galamsey ravaged region across Ghana. The President said in that launch that, he was prepared to put his "presidency" on the line to stop this menace. On April 4, 2017, the Media Coalition Against Illegal mining was launched. The campaign was meant to be a wake up call to the harm being done to water bodies and vegetation by illegal miners. The National Commission on Civic Education, Occupy Ghana, Chamber of mines and other civil society organizations all joined to push Government's agenda in that regard.
In pursuit of this campaign, Government spent colossal amount of our taxes to deploy soldiers to these communities, members of the operation Vanguard Group were paid with our scarce resources, excavators and equipments were burnt and destroyed, peoples livelihoods were lost, Ghanaians were sent to jail for violating our laws, illegal miners were killed for breaking our environmental laws. For example, Major Maxwell Mahama was killed because of this same fight against galamsey.
Osafo Marfo's recent statement in a town hall meeting in the of United States flies in the face of the Government galamsey fight. Mr Marfo's comment is needless, unguarded, undermines the laws of Ghana and disrespect to all Ghanaians. So the question on the lips of many is that, why can't Aisha Huang not be sent to jail but other illegal miners (Ghanaians) can? Is it not possible to punish Aisha Huang and still keep our relationship with China? Is she more human than the rest of the jailed illegal miners? Does this not put down the collective fight of Media Coalition Against illegal mining and other CSO's? If the President said he will put his presidency on the line, how else will he show it if he cannot sack Yaw Osafo Marfo? Is Osafo Marfo telling us that, the Synohydro deal or Chinese loan free of charge? Is the deal worth more than human lives, more than loss of livelihoods, more than degradation of our water bodies, more than our pride, dignity as a nation? What happens to our sovereignty as a nation? What happens to the President's fight against galamsey on the back of Osafo Marfo's comment?
In Tanzania, a court sentenced Chinese Ivory queen to 15 years in prison. Yang Fenglan was found guilty of smuggling about 80 pieces of Ivory over several years to Asia. Again, in the UK , Kweku Adoboli, a Ghanaian born investment manager was convicted of illegally trading away 2 billion dollars as a trader for Swiss Investment Bank, UBS.Tanzania and US jailed these foreigners because it will put food on their table and make them happy?
As a party we find that the "back stops" with the President, we call on President Akufo Addo to one, frontally condemn the comments of Osafo Marfo. Two, really set the record straight on the fight against galamsey as regards the commitment or otherwise. Three, immediately and NOW sack Osafo Marfo. Anything short of this will mean and ONLY mean that President Akufo Addo endorses those comments and his fight against galamsey is merely a charade.
(Regional Communications Officer)
Greater Accra Region