I will put my Presidency on line to stop galamsey – Akufo-Addo
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Monday said he was prepared to put his presidency on the line in his quest to end the scourge of illegal mining to safeguard Ghana’s future.
He said he was not worried whose ox was gored in the fight against illegal mining or galamsey, because he had the duty as the leader of the country to ensure the survival of the country as an entity.
“But it has been said that I should be careful because many of these people voted for me and if I continue this exercise, they would not vote for me.
“We have a duty to protect it for those who would come after us and if our river bodies are drying up, our landscape is being desecrated. We have a responsibility to say no, we can’t allow this to go on for our own common survival and that of those to come.
“If we allow that to continue, we are jeopardising our own future,” he said when addressing traditional leaders at a two-day workshop to sensitise them on the dangers of galamsey and the need to end that activity.
The President said though the country had passed through difficult times, and many people have had to find means of making ends meet for themselves and their families, that should not be the reason for some citizens to engage in activities that could spell doom for the country.
He said it was unacceptable that Ghana’s rivers and forest that “have been with us for centuries” should dry up and be devastated because people had to survive.
“And all kinds of people from all walks of our national life are engaged in this exercise – security personnel, political leaders, businessmen, and nananom, some chiefs are all involved in this.
“I cannot oversee that because it would be a betrayal of the trust that the Ghanaian people put on me on January 7 this year”, he said, urging traditional leaders not to sit back and allow the activities of illegal miners to jeopardise the very survival of our nation.”
President Akufo-Addo pleaded with the traditional rulers and authorities to support the fight against illegal mining, saying, “I am very committed but my commitment is not enough, I need yours as well.
“With your commitment, I will leave here knowing that, no matter how difficult and how long it takes, we will win this fight.
“Any serious social mobilisation of Ghana since time immemorial involved our chiefs without them nothing can happen. So the reason why you have been brought here today is to have the opportunity to share with you, our thoughts, our strategy, our thinking and I ask of you, in the name of the generations yet unborn, for your support and active involvement in bringing this menace of galamsey to an end,” he said.
“We are doing it not for ourselves, but for those who are coming after us and I have great confidence in the Ghanaian people and their traditional leaders. They will always stand up during critical times…The Ghanaian people are counting on you to put your shoulders to the wheel. Yes, those involved in this may be throwing some money around, but God is on our side and he will provide for us,” he stated.
“This is the time for all of us to say we have to do something now to secure our future and I have absolutely no doubt about it that if there is any one right thing to be done in Ghana today, it is a mobilisation to stop the phenomenon known as galamsey. It is the right thing for us to do,” the president said.
President Akufo-Addo told the traditional rulers that cabinet had put a committee together to design a policy, not just to stop illegal mining, to reclaim the lands, or to make our rivers work again but also to device means for all these able-bodied young men who are engaged in these activities to find alternative sources of livelihood.
“It is a package that we have designed to try and bring this menace to a conclusion. I have said it in the 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” he said.