Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the President of the Republic, has reaffirmed his commitment to collaborating with Chiefs, traditional chiefs, and other stakeholders in the fight against galamsey.
“It is evident that, if we are to win the war, you and I have to take the lead and partner closely to accomplish so,” said President Akufo-Addo.
This is the reason I’m here today.
Speaking to the National House of Chiefs on October 5, 2022, the President remarked that twenty percent (20%) of Ghana’s remaining lands are held in trust by the President, with the remaining eighty percent (80%) being in the care of the Chiefs.
According to him, this means that although while the President legally owns the soil’s minerals in trust for the people, Chiefs and the President are ultimately jointly responsible for the state of the lands’ welfare.
“Historically, we discharged that responsibility well. Even though, for centuries, we have been a mining nation, mining did not pose a threat to the health of our environment and water bodies. The rules that you put in place for mining ensured that the sanctity of our lands remained intact, and our water bodies remained unpolluted. Tragically, in the modern era, that is no longer the case. And that is why I have come to you today to talk about how, together, we can repair this dramatic situation,” he stated.
With a strong pledge made in his inauguration speech, President Akufo-Addo stated that since taking office on January 7, 2017, he has made it a core aspect of his presidency to spearhead efforts to rid the country of the Galamsey threat.
“It has not been easy, it has not been popular, and we have not got the immediate results that I was looking for. Indeed, in the last elections of 2020, my stance on the issue cost my party and I significant losses in the mining communities. It turned out that my statement that I was putting my presidency on the line in the fight against galamsey was neither bombast nor recklessness. It was the simple truth,” he said.
The President added, “We have tried many initiatives, including that of the Community Mining Scheme, and the establishment of a new legal regime for dealing with the perpetrators of this phenomenon, which has imposed severe sanctions on those, Ghanaians and foreigners, convicted of illegal mining. Still, we have not won the fight.”
In seeking further assistance from the National House of Chiefs in addressing the galamsey phenomenon, he noted that taking partisan political interests out of the fight against galamsey is one way forward.
“It can only succeed if it is a truly national battle, which no one seeks to exploit for political gain, as we saw in the last election. The progress of our country depends on all of us, all citizens of Ghana, all Fellow Ghanaians, pulling together to defeat this existential threat to our future,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo reiterated the position of the government when he said, “We are not against mining, but we cannot tolerate mining in a way that risks ruining our land.
Mining has always played a major role in our country.
In fact, Elmina, which in Portuguese means “the mine,” was the name given to the first town to be impacted by Europeans when the Portuguese first arrived on our shores in the 15th century. This is because as they neared our shores from their ships, they could see our people working in mines.
It is not unexpected that the name “Gold Coast” was given to us during colonial times.
In order to stop the destruction of the Ghanaian landscape and the polluting of our water bodies, he urged all Ghanaians to assist him in the fight against illicit mining.
He continued, “We must succeed in that battle to preserve our environment and save our legacy for future generations, as you did in the past.