If politicians in illegal mining aren’t the enemies of the state, what are they

John Dramani Mahama Official JDM Former President John Dramani Mahama

Tue, 16 Nov 2021 Source: Kwaku Badu

I got scared when I was appointed as Deputy Minister because we get to a place and you ask who is mining here and you have to fight it because those involved are politicians.

In all honesty, we cannot and must not allow some greedy politicians who do not have the nation at heart and only harbor ulterior motives to enrich themselves at the expense of the rest of Ghanaians.

The deputy minister’s chilling exposition may well explain why some MDCE’s and other politicians are not showing enough seriousness and commitment towards the all-important battle against illegal mining.

Take, for instance, the vineyard news had it that it was during the Mahama administration that we saw the influx of Chinese illegal miners in our rural areas, many of whom were bent on stealing our mineral resources, destroying the environment and terrorizing the indigenes while Mahama’s administration looked on helplessly.

Apparently, in spite of the conspicuous stealing and destruction, former President Mahama and the rest of NDC apparatchiks were oblivious to the seriousness of the situation and refused to halt the activities of the stubbornly impenitent illegal miners.

If you may recall, the former Member of Parliament (MP) for Manso-Nkwanta, Joseph Albert Quarm, disclosed some time ago that he rejected an amount of $ 1 million as a bribe from some Chinese nationals during his fight against illegal mining (galamsey).

“According to him, the Chinese nationals who used some Ghanaians as middlemen(probable politicians) tried to use the money to convince him and to enable them to continue the illegalities in 2012”

The Member of Parliament for Manso Nkwanta, however, maintained that he took the case to the Ashanti Regional Police Command. However, the police failed to continue with the matter.

“I was arrested by the police for obstructing the Chinese galamseyers”, the MP disclosed.

“According to him, when he reported the matter to the Ashanti Regional Police Command, the police turned around and arrested him for preserving water bodies from illegal miners in his area”.

In fact, the former Manso Nkwanta MP’s chilling revelation gave credence to the former Lands and Natural Resources Minister under Mahama’s administration, Inusah Fuseini’s sensational bribery claim.

It would be recalled that somewhere in April 2017, the former Lands and Natural Resources Minister, Inusah Fuseini, audaciously disclosed the presence of a well-oiled network of Chinese influence who are determined to keep the illegal mining business flourishing for their own benefit.

The Honourable Inusah Fuseini, however, revealed that the Chinese delegation had the temerity to offer him a bribe in the form of sponsorship of his child to the top schools abroad.

Nevertheless, according to the former minister, he turned down the Chinese delegation’s lucrative offer and did his utmost best to halt the menace of illegal mining.

I, for one, will continue to salute the aforesaid former Members of Parliament for showing their patriotism, affection and solicitude towards the wellbeing of Ghana.

The all-important question discerning Ghanaians should be asking then is: which politician(s) shamefully grabbed the alleged high-powered Chinese delegation’s gargantuan blood money?

Obviously, under the erstwhile NDC administration, the galamsey business was booming despite efforts by a few patriots to halt the menace.

We also heard from a credible source (Kweku Baako) that somewhere in 2016, a few Chinese illegal miners were arrested by the police but were later released without charge through high-powered interventions.

It was, therefore, not surprising that the illegal miners had the liberty to steal our natural resources, destroy the farming lands, pollute the water bodies with methyl mercury and noxious cyanide and then go scot-free during the Mahama administration.

In fact, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako's chilling revelation back then gave maximum oxygen to Manso Nkwanta’s MP’s story.

According to the former MP, he was bizarrely arrested by the police for trying to protect the water bodies from the illegal miners. How bizarre?

Back then, the illegal miners easily bribed their way through and took advantage of the absence of monitoring and enforcement of the existing laws and regulations.

If that was not the case, how on earth would foreigners seize our countryside, steal our gold and destroy the environment with impunity and go scot-free?

It was, therefore, refreshing when the forward-thinking, serious and committed President Akufo-Addo wisely placed an interim ban on small-scale mining activities.

Despite the small-scale miner's indignations over the temporary ban on their poorly regulated activities, it was, indeed, a pragmatic step to put better data and policies in place to get the sector back on track.

It was against such backdrop that some of us were struggling to get our heads around how and why former President Mahama could oppose Akufo-Addo’s estimable efforts to curb the activities of the conscienceless illegal miners.

Ex-President Mahama was reported to have grouched somewhat plangently: “it is true that if we don’t do something about it, it will destroy the environment. But we need to apply wisdom. Because we’ve chased young people involved in illegal small-scale mining with soldiers in the past in this country but it didn’t work.”

With all due respect, what does Ex-President Mahama take discerning Ghanaians for? After all, wasn’t he in government for eight years and what did he do to halt the apparent menace?

If, indeed, Ex-President Mahama and his NDC administration ever deployed the military in their attempts to halt the menace of illegal mining but to no avail, why didn’t they stick to alternative solutions?

So Ex-President Mahama wants to tell the good people of Ghana that eight years in government was not enough to curb a canker such as illegal mining?

Why must he then criticize someone who has been in government for a few years but doing everything humanly possible to protect our environment?

Former President Mahama was recorded moaning bizarrely: “But if we put a blanket ban and send soldiers after the young people that is not the way to go. As you stop illegal small-scale mining, at the same time you must put in place a livelihood package so that as you are displacing people from illegal mining, they have something to do…. But when there is nothing to do but you are just chasing them, shooting them, it is not the way to go.”

In fact, if we were to draw an adverse inference, we can dare state that Ex-President Mahama was suggesting that the security personnel should cease chasing armed robbers with guns and rather offer them alternative livelihoods. How bizarre?

Honestly stated, there is incontrovertible evidence of some galamseyers quitting their jobs and moving to the rural areas to embark on illegal mining. A criminal shall remain so regardless.

Ex-President Mahama declared: “We [NDC] decided that we will bring a new mining law that will regulate galamsey that persons who do it well will be able to sustain themselves…So immediately, the [Akufo-Addo] government must look at these regulations and come up with good policies so that those who want to do it will do it within the law.”

I could not agree more with former President Mahama. Indeed, better data and policies are needed to get the sector back on track.

But the all-important question every discerning Ghanaian should be asking former President Mahama and his NDC administration is: why did you fail woefully to arrest a menace such as illegal mining in eight years in office?

Columnist: Kwaku Badu