President Nana Akufo Addo has made time to meet a delegation of chiefs from Akyem Abuakwa at the seat of the presidency, the Jubilee House. The delegation was led by the Okyehene , Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin ll.
For those who have little knowledge of Ghana history, the Akyem people belong to the akan tribe . The Akyem state is made up of Akyem Abuakwa, Akyem Kotoku, Akyem Bosome and Asante Akyem. With the exception of Asante Akyem which is located in the Ashanti Region, the other three are all located in the Eastern Region.
Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin ll who is also the Kwaebibiremhene is the king of Akyem Abuakwa. Interestingly, the sitting president is a royal from Akyem Abuakwa. Under normal circumstances therefore,The Jubilee House meeting should have passed as one of those normal meetings. However, for the Okyehene and his retinue to make demands such as the construction of a dual carriage road between Apedwa and Bunso and also impress upon the president to do something about the ongoing pollution of the Pra river by small scale miners can only attract a “matters arising “ query from a harmless journalist like me. This is because it is news worthy. During my journalism course, one of the first cliches I learned was that , it is no news when a dog bites man but it makes news if a man bites a dog.
Whatever has therefore, compelled the Abuakwa state to discuss its concerns with its own son (the most powerful man in Ghana) in public, l don’t know but suffice it to say that the issues are critical to Nananom.
Be it as it may, the political signals are not so pleasant. It gives the impression that the issues have been discussed severally behind closed doors but to no avail, hence that last ditch effort, as Nana is in his last and final term.
On the issue of the road, I cannot wrap my mind around the reason why he pushed the matter onto the shoulders of the ministers for Roads and Highways and Finance respectively. Was that another way of telling Nananom that they should hold those two accountable since he has instructed them many times behind the scenes to take action but have failed ? So that we will all be reading from the same page, allow me to clarify that the two ministers (Kwasi Amoako Atta for Roads and Highways and that for Finance,Ken Ofori Atta respectively) are cousins to the President and therefore, hail from the royal house of Kyebi. The other reason why it becomes part of the matters arising is that government recently read the annual budget and l doubt if the road in question was captured. If(please l said if) it was not included, where and how can the road be done?
Our President can be crafty(and smart) sometimes. I realized he conveniently avoided the word “galamsey “ as the major reason for the pollution of the river Pra. He preferred “small scale miners “. But all of us know that small scale or artisanal mining is regulated and that the source of the pollution is galamsey because that is not regulated but done illegally.
Once bitten, they say, twice shy! Ghanaians can vividly recall the formation of “Operation Vanguard “ ,a 400 -strong combined military and police taskforce in July, 2017. That force was backed by an inter-ministerial committee headed by ministers of state. On their part, media men and women formed the Media Coalition against Galamsey which coalition named and shamed all those facilitators and actual participants in the illegal business. After two years of blowing hot air, Government and everybody went quiet. Why? The whole exercise became a money-making venture for the very people who were organized, trained and financed by the taxpayer to stop the practice. Officials were captured on camera taking fat envelopes, receiving soft and warm handshakes, some were even bold to take the money and all that. In the end, galamsey miraculously vanished from the lexicon of officialdom in subsequent presentations of the State of the Nation’s Address.
Ironically, Operation Vanguard was located in the same Eastern Region around the same Pra River and later extended to the Central Region. So what will change this time around with lesser force(200 men instead of the 400 in the first instance) . Today there are over 700,000(seven hundred thousand) Chinese in Ghana of which 70 % are galamseyers. Today, apart from the Afram, the great Volta river and a couple of rivers, water from 90% of Ghana’s water bodies are over polluted not only with mud but very dangerous chemicals.
I don’t know what you think but I want to be proved wrong by His Excellency through concrete results because I have given up and thinking about other ways to combat this menace. I have come across a research indicating that ,by the year 2030 Ghana will begin importing water.
I am therefore planning to wage a campaign through the UN and other international organizations for the world to boycott Ghana’s gold . I want to do it not because of the pollution alone but also children of school going age have left the classrooms and are in the pits doing galamsey.
“Mr. President, petition please, point of order! “ Nana Ampadu, the highlife king once sang.