Dr. Lawrence Tetteh

The rampant destruction of Ghana’s land and water resources due to illegal mining activities, commonly referred to as galamsey, is a stain on the country’s conscience. Rev. Dr Lawrence Tetteh, an international evangelist and President of the Worldwide Miracle Outreach (WMO), stated that all those in positions of responsibility should be ashamed of themselves. He condemned the ruling political class, chiefs, and security agencies for turning a blind eye to this issue, stating that such behaviour is unacceptable.

“It is such a shame that we continue to pay lip service to something that is destroying our current and future generations. If you are a Ghanaian and you are not concerned about this monster called galamsey, then you must bury your head in shame,” he stressed.

The evangelist added that the time had come for all Ghanaians, irrespective of their social status, to rise up and help to expose all persons who were perpetrating galamsey. He made the call at a press conference in Accra yesterday as part of the national prayer rally by WMO and the Lawrence Tetteh Ministries (LTM).

The 31-day national prayer rally, which started on May 1, is on the theme “This Nonsense Must Stop” and brings together religious leaders to pray for the wellbeing of the country, especially as the December 7 elections beckon.

Galamsey nonsense

Rev. Dr Tetteh, who is also an economist, described galamsey as one of the major ‘nonsenses’ that must stop if Ghanaians wanted to live long and sustainably manage the country’s resources. “I call out the presidency on this issue of galamsey. Where are our chiefs and security personnel? If we do not stand up and stop this nonsense, we will all die,” he stressed.

He called on all citizens to use the political season occasioned by the December 7 polls to pressure politicians to be accountable in the fight against galamsey. The clergyman stressed that as custodians of the land, chiefs in particular must take a principled stance not to allow illegal mining to be carried out in their areas of jurisdiction.

Rev. Dr Tetteh added that if chiefs exercised the power they had over their subjects in the fight against galamsey, persons behind the menace could be brought to book with ease. “Children are being born with defects; it is estimated that Ghana risks importing water because our water-bodies are contaminated, causing infections and diseases to our communities. This is why we must expose the people behind this wickedness,” he said.

Corruption, nepotism

Rev. Dr Tetteh also underscored the need for conscious efforts to be made to purge the country of corruption, favouritism and nepotism, stressing that such tendencies were anti-developmental and nation-wrecking. He observed that galamsey and other developmental challenges the country was grappling with were deeply rooted in corruption and nepotism.

“Unfortunately, many of the anti-corruption strategies and efforts tend to target the symptoms of corruption instead of the main causes and perpetrators of the act,” he said. The evangelist called on the mandated state anti-graft institutions to live up to the constitutional mandate to help nip corruption in the bud.

“Our security services and politicians must sit up to help curb and stop this ‘nonsense’,” he stressed, adding that if corruption and nepotism were allowed to persist, “we will be digging our graves.” Dr Tetteh said Ghanaians needed to take a keen interest in how the anti-graft and security agencies discharged their mandate in the interest of accountability and national development.

“We need to address what is preventing them from exercising the authority that we as a nation have entrusted to them to stop this ‘nonsense’,” he stressed.

Background

Since 2017, the government has been implementing several measures to help clampdown on galamsey, especially in forest reserves and water bodies. Some security deployments, including Operation Vanguard, Operation Halt I and II were set up to help flush out illegal miners.

The government also revised the country’s mining regulations to provide stricter penalty regimes, including imprisonment terms of up to 25 years. The government also rolled out the National Alternative Employment and Livelihood Programme (NAELP) to provide alternative livelihood for residents of mining communities. Despite these and other measures, illegal mining activities continue across the 13 mining regions in the country.

By: Timothy Ngnenbe

 

Benjamin Mensah

By Benjamin Mensah

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