Just in 2020, we saw a country where the entire population of more than 30 million being shuttered by the President of the republic to stay indoors or face serious sanctions from the law enforcement agencies and the military.
Indeed, to the best of our knowledge, the president made us understand that he was acting in the best interest of Ghanaians and that he does not want Ghanaians to die. He was therefore protecting the Ghanaian people.
There are so many lawyers, human right activists and millions of well-meaning Ghanaians in this country who know their rights. These people and probably, most of us understands and recognize the right to freedom, movement and others but when the president decided to “infringe” upon all these rights through the COVID-19 restrictions. Yet, nobody, to the best of my knowledge, has sued the president or whatsoever. Why because human life is important and that is the most prominent aspect even in Our Constitution. Ironically, the constitution talks about the right to life.
My bigger question is that, is galamsey a matter of human life? Are the rights to work and livelihoods of the small-scale miners and all the justifications given by the miners overriding the entire public health, safety and human life? Are the presidents’ powers limited in this regard? Can the president not issue similar restrictions on galamsey as he did on COVID-19 and even the initial approach during the Galamsey fight? What legal or constitutional limitations is the president encountering to punish perpetrators and stopping this impunity among unsustainable mining activities by the small-scale mining?
Indeed, my simple take is that we are doing too much talking and acting so much in hypocrisy about this galamsey fight. Ghana is a democratic country, and we have all the tools to develop the right legislations and laws to control galamsey. We need to let the laws work. The fact is, let us fully, impartially and effectively implement the laws. If we think there are a lot of weaknesses or loopholes which does not make the laws effective enough to deter people from engaging in the activities, nothing obstructs us from reviewing and amending the laws. If we think the laws are lagging behind current realities, let us upgrade the laws. Enough of the lip services as a country because the galamsey issue poses great danger for our nation and the future generation. Galamsey is affecting our credibility as a country; it is destroying our natural and human resources; Our health system is under threat; agriculture productivity is on its knees and food insecurity is becoming a serious issue of concern; Galamsey is creating serious social havocs, and I am very sure what I have mentioned so far are just a minute component of the deeper impacts of small-scale mining. Dear Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo, we are on our knees, please do something to save Ghana now!!!
Fred Kwesi Agbenyo, Deputy Director: International Relations (NDC)
Fred Kwesi Agbenyo