President Akufo Addo
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says the fight against illegal small scale mining, commonly known as Galamsey cost him and his party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) significant number of votes in the 2020 general elections, especially in the mining areas.
According to him, this shows that the commitment he made to put his presidency on the line in the fight against galamsey was not a reckless statement but the hard truth.
Speaking during a meeting with the National House of Chiefs and some Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) in Kumasi on Wednesday October 5, 2022, the President noted that “Since I took office I have made it a central feature of my presidency to lead in the efforts to rid our country of this menace which we all now call galamsey. It has not been popular and we have not got the result that I was looking for,
“Indeed, 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 bombast or recklessness. It was the simple truth.”
President Akufo-Addo therefore called for all hands on deck telling the National House of Chiefs that the task to protect the lands and the environment from the effect of Galamsey is a joint responsibility between the government and the traditional authorities.
This he indicated that because 80 percent of the lands in Ghana are in the custody of the chiefs with him holding only 20 percent in trust for the citizenry, signifying that they have a role to play in protecting the resource.
“Eighty per cent of the lands in this country continue to be under your custody, much of it having been acquired through the blood and sacrifices of your ancestors. The reminder of 20 per cent which I hold in trust of the people of Ghana, derived from state acquisition from you. What this means is that ultimately, the welfare of the state of the lands is our joint responsibility, although by statute the minerals in the soil belong to the president in trust for the people,” he explained.
For their part, the chief assured Mr Akufo-Addo that they are solidly behind his administration to apply appropriate measures against all persons involved in Galamsey in the country.
President of the National House of Chiefs, Ogyeahohoo Yaw Gyebi indicated that galamsey was having a negative effect on the environment and also threatens revenue mobilsation in the country hence, their resolve to support the President and government in fighting it.
He said “your relentless war against forest degradation and illegal mining in Ghana is of great importance to Ghanaians especially we the chiefs.
“The effects of illegal mining on the environment threaten the survival of water bodies, farmlands, cocoa industry and even encouraging school dropouts, this undermines the revenue mobilsation drive in the country.
“In view of this development [the Chiefs] are solidly behind your administration to apply the appropriate sanctions against persons who are engaged in the practice of illegal mining irrespective of their status.”
By Vincent Kubi