Since Ghana returned to constitutional rule in 1993, past governments have been battling with FUEL PRICE INCREASE and DECONGESTION since the era of former President Rawlings from 1993 to date. The most luckiest government was Ex-President J.A. Kufour who twice in creased fuel prices by 100% and no one coughed in Ghana from 2001-2008. It will be recalled that the then opposition NDC decided to become a responsible minority and so the party was busy organizing the youth rather than blaming that hopeless government of Ex-Prez. J.A. Kufour. Having bought all the principled journalists in Ghana like bags of maize, these journalists surprisingly took the then opposition NDC on its toes in stead of the ruling NPP government at that time.
Those journalists and Social Commentators who kept Ex-President Kufour in power by over looking his unsatisfactory governance and rather attacked former President Rawlings and wife were all on government pay roll and they received fat salaries as well as flashy saloon cars and decent houses at the expense of the tax payer. At the Castle, in Parliament and conferences abroad in which NPP officials happen to take part, members of Kufour’s government made former President Rawlings their object of verbal attacks, insults, insinuations and vilifications, when Rawlings hears such lies and decide to re-act, Nana Akuffo Addo stripped him of all his courtesies leaving him to carry his luggage like an ordinary citizen when ever he leaves the country – how sad.
Now, back to the above subject, whenever the NPP government decide to decongest the streets, the NDC in opposition will jump to the support of the hawkers and vice versa. When fuel prices are increased the same thing is applied. We have now got a new Achilles Heel of the government and that is the “GALAMSEY” or ILLEGAL MINING, where a Ministerial Task Force is doing a yeoman’s job and our political opponents are fighting tooth and nail to paint them black. They will all fail because the Task Force have so far stopped the pollution of our water bodies and rivers and flushed hundreds of foreigners from the nation’s green forest. Yes, it is a fact that illegal mining has become a very worrying issue in the country resulting in the killing of miners, murders, degradation of water bodies. Other negative consequences of this activity include the lawless and criminal behavior exhibited by Ghanaian and non-Ghanaians involved in the illegal act.
There is an acute UN-EMPLOYMENT PROBLEM IN THE COUNTRY and those who engage in galamsey work are all self-employed who use the proceeds from galamsey to invest in the country, so there must be a holistic approach to this galamsey problem once and for all since million of those illegal miners have all become UN-EMPLOYED BY NOW. The solution to this problem is that thousands of these youthful miners are illiterate, so I am appealing to the government to be pro-active and set up another Task Force to work with the Minerals Commission to ensure that these illegal miners are all given licenses to operate and pay their taxes to the state since no government can employ all the youth in Ghana at a time we even have Unemployed Graduates Association in Ghana and I sincerely hope that this suggestion will solve the illegal miners problem once and for all because poverty is in its worst form in the country today, so the earlier the better since the youth constitute 80% of the voting population and most of them have sworn to teach the NDC a big lesson, come the 2016 general elections and because of ignorance, these young men and their families are blaming the President of the Republic for destroying their sources of livelihood because a HUNGRY MAN CAN NOT GO AND CAST HIS VOTE for a government only to have his job destroyed by the same government.
As a result of that the message is being spread like wild fire from Obuasi, Konongo, Nkawkaw, Dunkwa on-Offin, Manso-Nkwanta, Jacobu, Bekwai, Prestea, Tarkwa, Banda – Nkwanta, Tinga right on to Bolgatanga all up to Charipong, Danyankoraa all in the Northern, Upper West and East Regions of Ghana. Why this writer is worried is that what are we going to tell these youthful illegal miners during election 2016 because most of them only use pick axes , shovels and hammers in doing their galamsey work in the country. The government should take a second look at the operations of this group of galamsey workers and ensure that they are quickly registered and given licenses by the Minerals Commission to enable them work and pay taxes to the state. This will stop them from blaming the President of the Republic as being insensitive to the plight of Ghanaians because it was the youth who gave NDC a one touch victory in 2012 to the annoyance of the violent prone NPP. We must not play into the hands of the NPP through the crackdown of illegal miners. since a solution can be found to the problem.
NPP AND ILLEGAL MINERS When the President inaugurated the Inter Ministerial Task Force to flush out Ghanaians and foreigners in illegal mining (galamsey) in the country, the NPP has for the first time in the history of this country. supported the exercise fully. One may ask – why? The answer is very simple – IT IS TO THEIR ADVANTAGE COME 2016 ELECTIONS. The Task Force is mandated to ensure that LAWS on small scale mining are FULLY ENFORCED AND SEIZE ALL EQUIPMENT USED BY THOSE WHO FAIL TO OBTAIN OR RENEW THEIR LICENCES. Now, over 20,000 able bodied young men are engaged in galamsey and they are not using heavy equipment like wheel loaders and excavators, they rather use shovels, pick axes, hammers and chisels including water pumping machines to flush out water from their pits. They use chan fan machines to crush the gold bearing rocks to extract the small gold from the rocks to. They do not destroy forests, they do not pollute rivers and instead of the various NDC Constituency Executives in the affected mining areas writing detailed reports through their Regional officers for onward submission to the President who issued the new mining directive, these Constituency Executives are rather falling over each other to destroy hard working party members aspiring for MMDCE Positions in order to show the aspirants where power lies by looking for money bags to recommend for appointment as MMDCE.
The rest are destroying each other in order to catch the eye of the President for appointments. Constituency Executives indeed! The anti-galamsey exercise must be given a human face. Frankly speaking, if elections were to be held today 2013, the NDC will be lucky to get away with 20% of the total votes cast. In Obuasi economic activities has fallen sharply from 100% to 10%. when the AGA closed over 500 galamsey pits of the illegal miners amidst heavy security presence Members of the National Pick Pockets (NPP) are now teasing known illegal miners who strongly campaigned with their own resources and voted for the NDC during the 2012 general elections by saying thus; you said that John Mahama is your man during the 2012 elections, now if your man has become President of the Republic and have sent soldiers to close your galamsey pits – why do you now complain? It serves you right after all. Oh!
Yes, once a government is in power, the truth in sometimes could be SUBVERSIVE but it has to be told because the greatest friend of every true writer is first and foremost the TRUTH. However the price paid to writers is the deprivation of material comfort, the embarrassment of being passed over in a reward that is well merited or something worse. I have gone through all these problems during the PNDC era in 1982 to date 2013. With this article, if nothing is done to solve the problem between the Inter Ministerial Task Force and the illegal miners by redirecting these miners to acquire licenses and start their work, leading members of the NDC, Ministers of State and NDC Parliamentarians would GIVE ME MY STONE come 2016 which will be an election year when they come face to face with these miners.
For now, the slogan among these illegal miners is that it is President Mahama that has ordered soldiers to close their pits and so, they would also become “ILLEGAL VOTERS” who will vote massively against the NDC come 2016 so that a different government will come to acquire small scale mining licences for them. The government has taken the bull by the horns for inaugurating the Inter Ministerial Task Force to flush out illegal miners and it is a great political will-but the operations of the Task Force must be done with a human face. The Presidential directive shows that the NDC was born out of a revolution in my opinion, the President should have given these illegal miners some five months grace period within which to remove their electric generators, water pumps and other gadgets from the galamsey pits and then renew their license if they wanted to engage in small scale mining.
The directive took the galamsey miners by surprise and those who use only pick axes and shovels to work in their pits, had their pits covered completely. In reaction, they are waiting for the NDC come the 2016 elections to tell the party leaders and its MPs they (the youth) made it possible for it to win the 2012 general elections only for the government to destroy their business. It is not too late to find a solution to it. I sincerely hope my appeal will be treated with the seriousness that it deserves by the government because WORDS ARE VERY POWERFUL INDEED. To EVERY RULE, THERE IS AN EXEMPTION. Is Anybody listening?, I shall return when the need arise. Jaanbie Iwaii”
Clement Sangaparee Municipal Organiser United Cadres Front Obuasi
Distribution All Media Houses Accra/Ghana