Some frustrated youths in Tontokrom, located in the Amansie South district of the Ashanti Region, have taken their concerns about unemployment a notch higher due to the authorities’ failure to establish a flagship Community Mining programme in their area.
Expressing their deep dissatisfaction with the lack of progress, these unemployed youths are now issuing threats to resist the conduct of the 2024 elections in their communities.
Despite numerous attempts to communicate their request and even demonstrating in front of the Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources in charge of Mining, George Mireku Duker, their plea for the implementation of Community Mining in their area remains unanswered.
The spokesperson for the youth, Kwabena Animoyam, stressed their frustration in an interview with the media.
He stated that they are Ghanaian citizens and voters, yet the authorities seem to prioritise the interests of foreign mining companies over addressing the dire unemployment situation in their community.
Mr Animoyam emphasised their demand: “We are Ghanaian voters and we are unemployed, yet our authorities are rather protecting a foreign company by the name of Asanko.
“We are telling them that without Community Mining, there will be no vote. So, we won’t allow any campaign to take place.”
The youth spokesperson revealed that they are giving authorities until the end of December 2023 to address their concerns, or they will follow through with their threat.
This ultimatum follows a series of clashes with South African mining firm Asanko Mines, which frequently deploys armed civilians, soldiers, police, and alleged national security operatives to assert their claim over a portion of mining concession that the youth have earmarked for their Community Mining initiative.
The youths’ frustration stems from the fact that all attempts to establish the Community Mining programme in their area have proven futile, despite government assurances to look into their concerns.
Earlier this year, Deputy Minister George Mireku Duker promised to address the youth’s concerns, but despite this pledge and subsequent appeals, no meaningful action has been taken.
The youth also expressed disappointment in their Member of Parliament, Mr Yaw Frimpong, who they believe has not made sufficient efforts to advocate their cause.
The frustrated youths argue that they are being denied employment opportunities while state security agencies protect private and foreign firms at their expense.
They highlighted the dire state of development in their community, including poor road infrastructure.
They emphasised their desire for Community Mining as a legitimate means to create employment and improve their living conditions.
In 2019, the government launched the Community Mining scheme as a replacement for destructive illegal mining, or “galamsey.”
The initiative aims to create decent livelihoods for Ghanaians, particularly the youth, in mining communities across the country, with a focus on regions such as Ashanti, Western, and Eastern.