Political Science Professor Ransford Yaw Gyampo says the country’s Council of State or elders, for that matter, must make their influence felt as Ghana seems to be suffocating under the weight of illegal mining.
Expressing sadness at the content of the report by Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, who chaired the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM), Prof Gyampo said it appears President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo could not sustain his promise of putting his presidency on the line in the fight against the menace.
As a result, it will take the country’s elders, who are beyond partisanship, to ensure that the fight against illegal mining is won, he suggested.
“I am still wondering whether we still have a credible body called a Council of State. I am wondering whether we still have elders in this country. I am wondering whether we still have sober minds in Ghana.
“If we still have elders in this country who are expected to live over and above partisan politics and to look at things dispassionately without fear or favour, then I am surprised why we haven’t heard [from] them all this while,” he stated.
Prof Gyampo was speaking on The Keypoints on TV3/3FM on Saturday, April 22 on the report written by Prof Frimpong-Boateng.
The report made damning revelations about the involvement of key government officials in illegal mining.
Though some have come out to deny the allegations, it is clear that activities of illegal miners had the tacit support of these officials.
Among the officials cited in the 36-page report dated Friday, March 19, 2021 are Minister of Information Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, former Senior Minister Yaw Osafo-Mafo, New Patriotic Party (NPP) lawyer Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, former NPP lawmaker for Manso-Nkwanta Joseph Albert Quarm and Kwadwo Osei Afriyie, popularly known as Sir John, who died on July 1, 2020 as the Forestry Commission Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
Sir John was cited in the report as having a Chinese gang mining in forest reserves on his behalf.
Prof Gyampo said the country is on a tangent of mass suicide and the earlier the brakes were pulled, the better for all.
“I am not interested in who said what, who did what in the report but the point is that the fight against illegal mining must be taken on seriously otherwise we are on a tangent of mass public suicide.”
He, therefore, called on the Council of State and, indeed, elders to be worth their salt by stepping in.
“So, the elders in Ghana either do not exist or if they exist then they have serious deficit in patriotism and, in my view, they are not worth their status to be called elders.
“If I am lying they should challenge me, they should come out publicly to assert themselves as elders of the land.”