‘It Is Clear That Political Action Alone Cannot Defeat Galamsey!’


One of the most annoying things we journalists have to cope with is to find others deliberately twisting things we have written to ridicule us or make us look stupid.

No journalist worth his salt would object to being challenged. But the challenge must be based on what he or she has actually written, not what any ‘troll’ might invent.

What has got my goat is that on writing about the impressive ceremony Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the Asantehene, had conducted at the Manhyia Palace in Kumasi to mark the 25th anniversary of his accession to the Golden Stool, he had not allowed the solemnity of the occasion to blind him to the realities of Ghanaian society today. He had, in the presence of some very illustrious guests, mentioned the ugly word ‘galamsey’!

When the article was published, a ‘troll’ who has nothing to do but lay for writers who are not afraid to write on controversial issues, took me to task for ‘patting’ the Asantehene on the back “for merely making noise about galamsey!”

Yet I had written, not only in English, “Nana woakasa abrɛ!”

(Your Majesty, you have spoken a lot about this issue, to the point of tiredness!).

I had then meticulously outlined what I think the Otumfuo can DO to save his people and the rest of the Ghanaian populace from the ruthless galamseyers who are deliberately polluting the rivers and water-bodies that give the people water to drink to survive as humans. I wrote to respectfully invite the Otumfuo’s attention to a scenario in which highwaymen had invaded the Asante countryside and were killing or ambushing the people as they went to their farms or to their water-bodies.

Children were being abducted and murdered and their body parts sold to people who thought they could get ‘rich quick’ by resorting to hideous magical practices.

“Nana, if a dutiful Central Government sent soldiers and policemen to protect the populace and they failed in their task for all manner of reasons, would you shrug your shoulders and leave the people at the mercy of their would-be killers?” I asked. I respectfully invoked the names of such historical Asante heroes as Osei Tutu I; Opoku Ware I and Yaa Asantewaa, and asked the Otumfuo to ponder what those heroes would do, if their society was being ruined by such malefactors?

I reminded Otumfuo that there are hunters in Asante who can successfully hunt elephants and leopards. Such skilled and brave men could be commandeered to lead the traditional Asafo and Kyirem groups that formerly constituted the protective forces in every Asante town, village or hamlet. They could patrol the water-bodies and make such a doing that no one, no matter how much he was paid, would attempt to drive an excavator or bulldozer past them towards a river other water-bodies!

I said to Otumfuo, “Nana, sɛbe oh, Tafrakyɛ, obi nnkyerɛ akɔdaa Nyame!” (No one teaches a child where the sky is!)”And for this, I was accused of patting the Asantehene on the back for making noise.