At the weekend, good old Ghana Television did all Ghanaians a favour by showing Tiger Eye’s exposé put together by Anas Aremeyaw Anas on how illegal mining, otherwise known to the average Ghanaian as galamsey, is destroying our water bodies and degrading our lands.
Everybody with true Ghanaian blood flowing in him or her must be annoyed by the way foreigners, mainly Chinese, have invaded our territory and turned our water bodies into poisonous liquids, ready to decimate our population.
The Chronicle is aware of many excuses being offered by the presence of these Chinese in illegal mining, with the claim that there are Ghanaian collaborators. We do not pretend to be unaware that powerful Ghanaians are behind these brazen Chinese flouting our laws with impunity.
Invariably, they are aided by chiefs, politicians, and even members of the security services. That is a fact we cannot run away from. But does the presence of local collaborators make it legal for Chinese nationals to mine our gold illegally and poison our water bodies? The answer is a big No.
The laws of Ghana are clear. Foreigners have no place in small-scale mining. It pre-supposes that the State of Ghana has a duty to flush out these Chinese, who are brazenly flouting our laws.
What makes the Chinese presence in galamsey even more alarming is that they are responsible for heavy machinery in our rivers searching for alluvial gold, in the process of which our rivers are poisoned with dangerous chemicals like cyanide and mercury.
Apart from poisoning our sources of drinking water with careless abandon, most of these Chinese are trigger-happy, ready to shoot and kill anybody they consider as an impediment to their dangerous operations. In the hinterland, where these illegal Chinese ply their trade, there are credible reports of killings, rape and other activities that endanger the lives of the local inhabitants.
The Chronicle believes that the first line of attack on galamsey is to get these Chinese out of the country. We do not believe arresting these illegal miners would constitute any infringement on our investment code. We do not believe it hinges on xenophobia either. These are criminals and should be treated as such.
We do not believe any Ghanaian could go to the People’s Republic of China on any kind of visa and enter into mining. Why are we tolerating them here then?
It is the submission of this paper that no attempt at ending the galamsey menace would succeed without a concerted assault on the presence of Chinese in illegal mining.
This country is a haven for foreigners who come in, flout our laws with impunity, and make money at the expense of the local people.
Surely, we cannot continue to put the lives of our people and future generations at risk, by allowing these Chinese to continue to pollute our water bodies and degrade the land.
We are urging the government to wage a war on these Chinese, with the clear goal of flushing them out of the system. The Chronicle is happy with all the vibes being made by the new Minister of Lands and Natural Resources. But, Mr. Peter Amewu would not win the war on galamsey without flushing out these Chinese in the illegal trade.
When the Chinese have been dealt with, it would be relatively easier to get our local lads in galamsey to listen to reason. Galamsey is the greatest threat to our existence at the moment. President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has a duty to this nation to flush out these Chinese, clean up our poisoned water bodies, and stop the degradation of our farmlands.
President Akufo-Addo, put your feet down!