As the government made the fight against illegal mining a top priority in its last government, advocates say the fight was a failure.
Speaking on the issue, an advocate against illegal mining and a business development consultant, Kwame Okyere Darko, intimated that the illegal mining fight was not a real on and as such wants the President to admit he failed in the fight calling it an environmental scam.
“This Galamsey fight is the biggest environmental scam in Sub Saharan Africa…it is not the illegality of it but the collection of the problem also became an avenue for people to rob the state and also rob the people.”
His comments come on the back of the dissolution of the Inter- Ministerial Committee against Illegal mining by the President.
Touching on challenges with regards to the fight, Mr Darko said the seizure of excavators made the fight problematic.
“I have had people come to me from Tarkwa to say that, chief, they seized my excavator, two, three months down the line I saw my excavator on another site, when I quickly went there to take photo and try and blow up the issue the next time we were there they were putting fire in the excavator and it was burnt”.
According to him, the supposed progress of the fight has rather been characterised by a backwards movement.
Additionally, he called for the punishment of perpetrators who stunted the growth and called for non-politicisation of the issue.
“ In going from bad to worse, we have also taken a lot of state funds to go from bad to worse and I don’t think people must walk free; people must be punished. Because, this is not a political party assets; it is a country’s asset and if you look at the whole thing, did we actually interrogate this illegality and put up a proper plan for it before we started the fight or because we wanted to win some political points? So, we are the one going to stop the illegality. It was there before we came and now we have come and we are going to stop it.”
The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in his last state of the nation address called for a collective effort in the fight against illegal mining and the depoliticization of discussions on the issue.
Commenting on this, Deputy National Director of A Rocha Ghana, Daryl Bonsu says it is high time the President, Nana Akufo Addo admits that he has failed in the fight against illegal mining, adding that, the President’s statement was not in good taste and has a smack of uncertainties.
“What was the real essence of saying let’s have a conversation? His statement came across as though, as a country, there is no consensus as to whether we need to allow ‘galamsey’ or not. It is an illegal activity and that is why before 2016 and swearing in, he made very passionate and strong commitment as to what as a country we need to do to secure our national resources.
“He then went further again to meet with traditional authorities asking them for support and that is why for the first time we saw a President commit his presidency to address an environmental hazard. So, to come back after 3 years of actually initiating several actions and these actions have been with the inter- Ministerial Committee, the Vanguard, the District Mining Committee and you come back after 3 years and say let’s have an open conversation, it is all because he is very much aware that we failed in making sure that the goal we set for ourselves we couldn’t achieve it”.
He further noted that, government should not make the attempt to come back and call for the legalisation of illegal mining.