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21.07.2019 Feature Article

What Sort Of Madness Is This?

What Sort Of Madness Is This?
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It has happened again!

It is reported that at least 12 persons have been buried alive in a Galamsey operation at a disused gold-mine at Akrokerri, in the Adansi North district of the Ashanti Region. One person has been confirmed dead as a result of the accident.

As usual, details are sparse. But according to one “eye-witness” account, "even as rescuers were trying to use excavators to scoop up soil from the pits" in which the Galamseyers had been tragically buried, "some people" were "busy collecting the scooped-up soil"and taking it away to go and “wash” -- in search of gold!

Can that be true? Yes,for why would anyone want to concoct such an unedeifying story at such a sad time?

No; some of our people entertain no fear at all when it comes to seeking gold, itseems.

Amazing, isn't it? Your fellow humans are probably dead in a pit and all you can think of is the very lust for gold which has brought them to such a sorry end?

What about helping the rescuers?

Are some Ghanaians now so lacking in humanity that they place gold above human lives? Has normal human decency vanished from some parts of our country?

The answer to the above questions, I am afraid, is yes; yes; and yes! And

it should make one ashamed to be a Ghanaian.

I was discussing this barbaric behaviour with a few guys who know about Galamsey at first-hand when one of them volunteered: “But you haven’t heard anything yet! The reason why they want the soil from the location where people have died – “the death zone” -- is that they believe that once

people have been killed at a place, their deaths serve as a “sacrifice” or offering to the god of gold! When the god of gold is thus pacified, it allows the gold in the soil to reveal itself!"

I `was astounded to hear this. So there are still people, in this allegedly "Christian" nation, who believe in gods who control gold and who can turn soil into gold-bearing “sluice” [sand] which, when washed with chemicals, produces gold dust or even nuggets!? People still believe this sort of nonsense in 2019 Ghana?

But my friends hadn't even finished shocking me. One said: “Some people even go to the extent of murdering pregnant women, or newly-born babies, and use their bodies as a sacrifice to the god of gold! That's why so many Galamsey operations take place in the dead of night!”

I nearly spewed. Ah? This in Ghana?

"Even the foreigners who work with their Ghanaian collaborators on Galamsey operations, do encourage the Ghanaians to offer sacrifices to their ancestral gods of gold!”

I was sceptical. But what do I know? Aren't Albinos on danger of being sacrificed in aid of obtaining of political office elsewhere in Africa?

I threw up my hands and said, “Ghana is finished. If humans are being sacrificed in order to obtain gold; if people are not ashamed to be looking for gold whilst others are trying to rescue people who are buried underground but might be still alive; then where is our society going? Some people in Ghana have become more barbaric in ther attitudes than I ever thought possible.”

"Fellow Ghanaians might even be hoping or peaying that no-one is found alive! Obviously, the more people get sacrificed, the greater the amount of gold the gold god will yield to the Galamseyers, isn't it? “

The thought disgusted me. "How callous can human beings become?" I wondered aloud.

"What happened to the concern for humans that Ghanaians were once so proud of? I nasked. " We used to say that other people did not care for human lives, but as for us, because of our "commualistic" upbringing, our maxim was (as a proverb of ours hasit) "Human life is like an egg; if it falls to the ground and breaks, nothing can put it together again!”

My interlocutors looked at me as if I was from Mars. I could hear them thinking, "How naive can this man be?"

Now, the above exchange helps to illustrate the difficulties which our Government faces in trying to stop Galamsey.

If people will scoop up soil in an attempt to win gold even as rescuers are busy at work, trying to dig up and bring back to life, their fellow humans who might be seriously injured, then what won’t they do at night when no-one can see them?

Can the Government deploy enough “Task Force” personnel to patrol all the gold-bearing areas of Ghana, so as to prevent Galamsey operators from frustrating the Government’s attempt to legitimise "small-scale mining? illustrate the difficulties which our Government faces in trying to stop Galamsey.

If people will scoop up soil in attempt to look for gold when rescuers are busy at work, then what won’t they do at night when no-one can see them?

How can the Government deploy enough “Task Force” personnel to patrol all the gold-bearing areas of Ghana, so as to prevent Galamsey operators from frustrating the Government’s attempt to reserve artisanal gold-mining exclusively to those who have come forward to be trained and registered as "small-scale miners"?

Many small-scale miners have, in the past year, actually been paid allowances whilst they attended courses at the University of Mines at Tarkwa, where they received technical instruction from Government-paid experts, in the subject of good and safe mining practices. This was meant to enable them to carry out legitimate mining, without destroying our rivers, streams and the environment generally.

But who knows what is really inside the minds of some of these people? Do they want the Government to be lulled into thinking that they want to be "co-operative", while, in reality, they are operating according to the dictates of superstition and the amoral “animal-jungle” laws of "Eldorado?"

Well, the Government cannot just give up the struggle against Galamsey. For if it gives up, it will in truth be sacrificing the future of our own grandsons and granddaughters, and THEIR grandsons and granddaughters, on the altar of future climate change! Already, scientists are forecasting that in a few decades time, there will be horrendous water-famine in the world.We in African will suffer the worst when global warming reaches its apogee, because, of course, temperatures are already so very high here.

Also, we do not have the money to alleviate the effects of climate change that the "developed" countries have. Indeed, let's not fool ourselves: some racist, so-called world "leaders", would be only too pleased to see us eliminated from the face of the Earth, in case rickety boats take to their doorsteps as would-be "migrants".

Humankind as a whole will not be able to produce enough food in its farmlands, when climate change fully strikes The Earth. But we, in our ignorant lack of concern, are madly turning our forests into moon-craters, and making a veritable Martian landscape out of our ancestral homeland, which Nature endowed with water as clear as crystal and sweet as honey.

To curtail this calamity, our Government must ACT and ask Parliament URGENTLY to pass a law that makes it MANDATORY for all persons caught engaging in Galamsey to be sentenced to LONG terms of imprisonment. MANDATORY imprisonment cannot be varied by corrupt judicial officials in exchange for bribes.

Foreigners caught collaborating with Ghanaians in Galamsey operations must be also subjected to mandatory imprisonment. They must first serve their full sentences here, BEFORE being deported.

Task Force personnel caught assisting Galamseyers after taking bribes must be dismissed immediately, with a loss of all their entitlements.

These are harsh measures, to be sure.

But what else can the Government do? Acquiesce in the generational genocide of our progeny?

Expensive drones are being used to map out legitimate concessions and monitor operations in them. Yet Galamsey continues.

A lot of money has gone into setting up Task Forces. Nevertheless, Galamseyers keep being arrested on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis.

What can be done that has not ALREADY been tried?


Y3abr3! [We’re tired of it!]

Ad3n? [Why, oh why?]

Cameron Duodu
Cameron Duodu, © 2019

Martin Cameron Duodu is a United Kingdom-based Ghanaian novelist, journalist, editor and broadcaster. After publishing a novel, The Gab Boys, in 1967, Duodu went on to a career as a journalist and editorialist.Column: CameronDuodu

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

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