IT IS TIME FOR THE INTER-MINISTERIAL COMMITTEE ON ILLEGAL MINING TO ROUND UP THE GALAMSEY FIGHT.
By Reindolf Amankwa
For the past weeks if not months, Ghana has joined many countries around the globe in the fight against the deadly pandemic Coronavirus. The virus, as deadly as it is, has no boundaries and is no respecter of country or persons. Day in and out, many are the recommendations put to government in aid of the fight and beyond it.
For example; on 28th March, 2020, I published an article calling on the Government of Ghana to consider a total lockdown of the entire nation (Dear President Akufo-Addo: Why Not A Total Lockdown Of The Entire Nation To Stop A Possible Nationwide Spread Of The Coronavirus Pandemic). Even though many who read it disagreed on the need for such an action, it has become evidently vindicative that such an action was both necessary and appropriate to contain the viral spread in Ghana. Many front line agencies including the Ghana Medical Association have began calling on government for such immediate actions. At least, even as a layman, I was not wrong with my thoughts and call.
On 30th March, 2020, I again wrote on “STC’s Role In The Fight Against Novel COVID-19 Pandemic”. In this article, I suggested that the Government and its Ministry of Transport should direct the State Transport Corporation (STC) to deploy its buses to bridge the transportation gap which shall be created by the lockdown. I also stated emphatically in an interview with Agona-Swedru’s Obrempong Radio, the urgent need for the Aayalolo buses to be deployed in Accra to equally curb the transportation lapses that are likely to occur. Fast forward, the President in his 5th COVID-19 nation’s address made the directives to that effect. Here again, I did not make the wrong call.
On 31st March, 2020, in my article “Sanitation Ministry Must Take Advantage Of The 14-Day Lockdown To Make Accra And Kumasi Clean”, I made recommendations to the Ministry of Sanitation to use the lockdown period to clean Accra and Kumasi in line with the vision of making Accra the cleanest city in Africa. In the article, I proceeded to make recommendations beyond just cleaning the cities but how to maintain the sanity after the lockdown. Days after, the Sanitation Ministry made the announcement for such an exercise to take place. What I am yet to see or hear is the ministry taking into consideration my other two recommendations which were geared towards enforcing the cleanliness after the cleaning exercise.
On the 3rd of April, I wrote two articles which though were met with strong opposition, seem to have caught the President’s attention again. These were “COVID-19 Horizontal Spread In Ghana Is Caused By The Influx Of Illegal Immigrants Fleeing The Pandemic” and “ECG Must Be Warned Against Dum-Sor In The Lockdown Areas”. Many argued that the first was totally untrue whilst others argued that the second was factually inaccurate since the ECG had not announced any motive of load shedding though many in the lockdown areas also alluded that indeed, even though the ECG had not announced any load shedding exercise, the regular power fluctuations could be described as not less than Dum-Sor. Today, we all know that it is indeed true that the horizontal spread is mainly caused by some illegal immigrants who found their way into Ghana regardless the closure of our borders. The President’s call on ECG to stabilize power in these times equally justifies the knowledge he has on the regular power fluctuations experienced by people living in the lockdown areas.
Having made all these recommendations to the government for consideration and also appreciating the level of acceptance of these recommendations, I pray to put forth some others in the near future both in the fight against Coronavirus and beyond it. But then, I deem it a rare opportunity to recommend that our fight against illegal mining (Galamsey) should be gearing towards an end.
Though we may have some recalcitrants still defying orders and hiding in the forests to operate in galamsey activities amidst this global pandemic, I hold an earnest believe that the number of people currently engaged in this illegality have drastically reduced. If we’re serious on the fight, then, this should be the time to clamp down the activities of the few recalcitrants, secure all the galamsey sites against intruders after the fight against the deadly pandemic, ensure that our rivers and streams tampered with so far regain their natural strength and our lands reclaimed. There could be no other opportunity than this. The inter ministerial committee on illegal mining should take advantage of the COVID-19 fight to round up the galamsey fight.
Member, CTI-Middle Belt