At a townhall meeting somewhere here in the United States of America, I suspect perhaps it was in Worcester, Massachusetts, Ghana’s Senior Minister, Mr. Yaw Osafo-Maafo, was reportedly asked the question of why the notorious Chinese woman Galamsey operative, Ms. Aisha Huang, who had earlier on been arrested and put under lock and key for quite sometime now by law-enforcement authorities under the Akufo-Addo Administration, was allowed to leave the country for China, instead of being made to serve a punitive prison sentence in Ghana. We must also quickly point out that Ms. Huang was inherited by the Akufo-Addo Administration from the previous Mahama-led government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC). Well, as the story goes, the former Sports and Finance Minister in the erstwhile government of President John Agyekum-Kufuor is reported to have offered an answer that provoked the anger of a section of the participants of the aforesaid townhall meeting, that seemed to imply that heavy Chinese investment in the country and the Chinese government’s sponsorship of a remarkable number of projects in the country had, somehow, necessitated that Ms. Huang be set free and granted safe conduct out of the country back home to China (See “Senior Minister’s Office Clarifies Controversial Aisha Huang Comments” MyJoyOnline.com / Ghanaweb.com 4/19/19).
Rather than fault Mr. Osafo-Maafo for giving such a patently flippant answer or at best a theoretically lame response to the questioner, what we really need to be most concerned about is how these environmentally predatory Changfang machine-wielding operatives of illegal mining entered the country and effectively took over the conduct of this wantonly destructive industry. And for a definitive answer, we have the self-righteous Chairman Jerry John Rawlings and his criminal political beehive, the so-called National Democratic Congress, to blame. Indeed, it was under the administratively reckless and grossly incompetent and self-serving Rawlings-led National Democratic Congress’ government when the rather scandalously unwise decision to allow teeming colonies of Chinese Galamseyers to swamp the country with the environmentally destructive Changfang excavator to wreak the sort of ecologically threatening damage to our lands, waterbodies and forestry resources in which we presently find ourselves.
Indeed, even as a Chinese diplomat resident in Ghana, perhaps it was China’s Ambassador to Ghana, Mr. Shi Ting Wang, himself who was widely reported to have angrily replied that it was the Ghanaian people and our successive governments, acting through Ghana’s Consulate in China, that voluntarily issued visas to enable these Chinese foreigners, who had absolutely no knowledge of our landscape and its mineral resources, beforehand, whatsoever, to enter Ghana and effectively lay our lands, waterbodies and forestry resources and livelihood, in some cases, to waste. In sum, according to Beijing’s Chief Diplomat in Accra, if anybody has to be faulted or criminally blamed for the destructive impact of the Changfang machine-wrought ecological disaster in Ghana, such blame must be squarely laid at the doorsteps of the three branches of our country’s Government, namely, Jubilee House, Parliament and the legitimately constituted courts of the land and, of course, Ghana’s various law-enforcement agencies.
Now, what is quite encouraging here, and for which reason Ghanaian voters would be better off retaining President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo at Jubilee House beyond January 7, 2021, is the undeniable fact that, so far, it is only the Akufo-Addo-led Administration of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) that has seriously demonstrated that, indeed, it is capable of putting a definitive end to the Galamsey menace. I suppose the Rawlings-led National Democratic Congress decided to loosely open up the country to the Chinese Galamseyers like a sex-worker or a prostitute in the wake of the construction and the gifting of the Accra-based Ghana National Theater and, subsequently, the granting to the government of the John Agyekum-Kufuor-led New Patriotic Party of some $600 Million loan at a generous interest rate for the construction of the Bui Dam, in the northern-half of the country.
Now, I don’t know what viable or serious measures the last New Patriotic Party-sponsored government put in place to either remarkably slow down the predatory and environmentally destructive activities of the Galamsey industry or completely extirpate the same. Chances are that like the previous two Rawlings’ governments, not much had been done. Which is why President Akufo-Addo ought to be afforded all the support that he needs to effectively succeed in his land, waterbodies and forestry resources reclamation efforts. If he succeeds, and it is quite certain that he would, Ghanaians across all political divides will be healthier and existentially well-fortified for the effort. If he fails – God forbid! – Ghanaians would be doomed to the commission of collective suicide a la Jim Jones and the Guyanese Apocalypse.
For his part, former President John Dramani Mahama, who is, once again, gunning for the Presidency, has made his stance definitively clear that he is absolutely no respecter of environmental protection and the health and safety of ordinary Ghanaian citizens. To be certain, in the wake of him massively losing the 2016 Presidential Election, Mr. Mahama vigorously went on the “Sabotage Akufo-Addo Campaign Trail” to recklessly and criminally advocate for the inalienable right of predatory Galamsey operatives, largely in the northern-half of the country, and to maliciously urge these nation-wreckers to intensify their callous and systematic devastation of the land, on the devious grounds that like his own previous government, the Akufo-Addo-led New Patriotic Party Administration had amply demonstrated that it was not capable of creating any viable alternative occupational opportunities for these illegal miners.
What this means is that come December 7, 2020, the overwhelming majority of Ghanaians ought to know that the choice of Candidate John Dramani Mahama as their Comeback President, would likely, at best, become their visa straight to Hell!
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By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York