John Dramani Mahama, a former president, is wondering why President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo can’t take the initiative in the fight against illicit mining (galamsey) by putting the boot into offenders, especially those from China.
Despite the positive bilateral connections between Ghana and China, Mr. Mahama believes that the government must make sure that Chinese people who commit crimes that undermine Ghana’s galamsey struggle are held accountable.
“We treasured the relations with China when I was President.
However, they do not claim that because of their strong relations, they will allow you get away with anything if you are a Ghanaian and travel to China and engage in any unlawful activity.
You will be subject to the full force of the law in China, the former president emphasized.
His remarks are in response to the debates around Aisha Huang, the Chinese gala queen, and whether or not she was deported.
In an interview with Accra-based TV3, John Mahama recalled how, to demonstrate his dedication to combating the problem, he did not hesitate to deport roughly 5,000 Chinese citizens who were involved in illicit mining while he was in office.
“When I was in office, I faced this same illegal gold mining [issue]. I deported almost 5,000 illegal Chinese miners. I didn’t say because of the good relations we have with Ghana, we should allow them to engage in this illicit activity. We collaborated with the Chinese embassy, and it didn’t destroy our relationship.”
National Security agents recently detained Aisha Huang for her unauthorized entry into the nation after her deportation in September 2018.
Many have questioned the government’s dedication to the fight against illegal mining in the nation in the wake of her detention.
However, the former president demands that the government not defend anyone involved in the Chinese national’s return and calls for punishment against state officials who were implicated.
President Akufo-Addo was criticized by the former president for “failing the fight against the menace.”
In 2017, President Akufo-Addo jeopardized his presidency by vowing to combat the galamsey threat.
“I have said in Cabinet, and perhaps this is the first time I am making this public that I am prepared to put my presidency on the line on this matter,” the President said.
Mr. Mahama said President Akufo-Addo should have resigned by now per his own words.
“If you go to the districts, they talk about community mining. Community mining is the NPP party executives and the DCEs who are doing the community mining. So, they are the ones doing what they are doing, so how can you expect him to fight galamsey when his own people are the ones who are doing it?”
“If we were in some other jurisdiction, he would have resigned by now. By his word, he put his presidency on the line,” he stated.