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STATESMAN OPINION: The galamsey fight must be won

Politics

The Akufo-Addo-led government, since assuming office, has been waging a relentless war against the galamsey menace in a bid to save the deteriorating environment of the country.

The Akufo-Addo-led government, since assuming office, has been waging a relentless war against the galamsey menace in a bid to save the deteriorating environment of the country.

 

Under the directive of the president, the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu, led this crucial fight, by taking some drastic measures, including placing a six-month ban on small scale mining, in a bid to sanitize the industry.

It is refreshing to note that the fight has begun yielding some positive outcome, with some water bodies previously declared unwholesome beginning to show signs of becoming wholesome once again.

This has given us the hope of preventing any possible water crisis from hitting the country in future, as had been predicted.

Both President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and Vice President Mahamadu Bawumia yesterday gave the assurance that government was not going to give the fight, and that it had adopted forceful and comprehensive measures to sustain it.

In this fight, critical forces behind the illegal activity will always employ all forms of crude tactics, to try and prevent government from succeeding, with the key actors becoming the major targets.

It, therefore, came as no surprise when news came out yesterday that an audio-visual device had been found by National Security hidden at the office of the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources during a routine check.

One cannot completely rule out the possibility that the device may have been planted there by some beneficiaries of illegal mining in a bid to monitor and detect moves being undertaken by the ministry in clamping down their activities.

Mr Peter Amewu must not be deterred by this development and should continue all initiatives being embarked on to execute the fight, just as he should not be bothered by the claim from Kwabena Mintah Akandor, a former Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources under the NDC regime, that government is losing the fight by not using the right approach.

We are happy that included in the comprehensive measures to tackle the menace is the plan by government to provide people in affected communities engaged in the act with alternative livelihood schemes. We are happy that the government is resourcing the military to ensure the sustenance of the fight.

As that is being done, we want to urge government to ensure effective education of people in the affected communities on the effects of illegal mining on the land and other natural resources, such as water, to elicit their continuous support for the fight.

The people should be made to understand that the action being taken by the government is for their own good and their unborn generations.

We also want to encourage other stakeholders, including the media, civil society organizations, traditional authorities, among others, to continue offering the government the critical support required to sustain the fight and ensure it is won eventually.

This is a very good fight the government or the nation has embarked upon. It must be sustained and won. There should not be any turning back because ‘he who fights and runs away lives to fight another day’.