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GHANA AT WAR With Chinese ‘economic guerrillas’ – Prof Martey

General News

The immediate past Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Emmanuel Martey, says Ghana is up for war against Chinese “economic guerrillas” who are engaged in illegal mining, known in local parlance as galamsey.

The immediate past Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Emmanuel Martey, says Ghana is up for war against Chinese “economic guerrillas” who are engaged in illegal mining, known in local parlance as galamsey.

 

He said he found it strange that various leaders of the country had not yet realized that the nation was at war with illegal miners.

“With the present galamsey operations in this country, Ghana is at war. And it is amazing that our political leaders, for a long time, have not realized that Ghana is at war. I don’t know what war is. If foreign economic guerrillas, that is what I call the Chinese – they are economic guerrillas – with their local missionary collaborators will attack and destroy your environment, pollute your source of drinking water and kill your citizens and you just sit down and do nothing, then what name should be given to you as a country?” he wondered.

Addressing a gathering at the Christ Apostolic University College in Kumasi, Rev. Prof Martey said illegal mining had the potential to wreck the nation if nothing was done about it immediately.

The comments by the outspoken former Presby Moderator comes in the wake of the sustained media campaign against illegal mining, following the announcement of the government’s commitment to deal with the problem once and for all.

Following the sheer devastation left behind by galamsey, media houses have come together to form a group called Media Coalition Against Galamsey with the aim of mounting sustained pressure on government and related bodies to end galamsey in the country.

The group is embarking on a one million signature collection campaign to petition the President and the Speaker of Parliament to take action against illegal mining activities in the country.

The one million signature petition is to draw government’s attention to the fact that the media is solidly behind it in the fight. Whatever decision government takes on galamsey, the coalition says it will support it fully.

The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu, on March 28, issued  a three-week ultimatum to all illegal miners to stop their activities or be prepared to face the full rigours of the law.

The government, he said, was also coming up with a well-rehearsed strategy to implement drastic, punitive measures to ensure that all people who connived to fund the activities of the illegal miners were dealt with.

“This time round, we will not take things lightly because we believe that China and India are the sources of funding for these illegal miners; so we are dealing with the root cause of the menace,” Mr Amewu said in an interview with the media.

According to the minister, the roadmap for dealing with the illegal mining menace include the use of dialogue and other cordial mechanisms, for which reason he met a Chinese delegation to discuss the way forward.

Touching on the involvement of local ‘influencers’ in the menace, Mr Amewu said anyone found behind the illegal mining activities would be brought to book in the interest of the country.

“We are going all out to ensure that all culprits, including chiefs, religious leaders and political figures, are held in check to stop the practice.

“It is a strong warning to any of these people who are in one way or another fuelling the practice to desist from it before they are caught in the web to face the consequential action,” he said.

Illegal mining has been a major national development challenge that many governments had grappled with over the years.

Apart from depriving the country of its agricultural land, the practice has resulted in the pollution of major water bodies, depriving many people of their sources of livelihood.

In some cases, the illegal miners, mostly Chinese, have had violent confrontations with residents of communities where the practice goes on, leading to loss of lives and properties.

Some traditional rulers and opinion leaders have been linked to the practice because they appear to be providing space for the illegal miners to operate.