The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, has stated that government knows the persons behind the illegal small-scale mining, galamsey, menace; but that it was failing to arrest such people for reasons best known to them.
In an address to the Asanteman Council on Friday, October 14, the regent stressed that the ball was in the court of government relative to the fight against galamsey.
He emphasized the role of chiefs in the fight to the extent that they had been given jurisdictions that were being threatened by illegal miners and thus the responsibility to report the issue and seek appropriate assistance.
“The government should do it let us see. They know all those involved but they cannot arrest them, they have resorted to lies let no one come and disturb us here,” he stated in his address.
He continued at the meeting that had a delegation visiting to make a submission on the impact of galamsey: “We are also involved, so let everyone play their part in eradicating this scourge. I thank the visiting delegation, chiefs will interact with them so that we can help each other.”
The Asantehene also chastised his chiefs, accusing some of them of being a cash and kind beneficiaries of the galamsey activities.
“Have you reported issues of security and environmental destruction arising from galamsey activities? Some of the issues that have come up, we are a part of the problem.
“Some of you, these very galamsey people come to your homes to give you money. Some of you get money,” he stated in the six-minute address shared by Opemsuo Radio.
“It is true you have no gun or stick but don’t we have our own structures? Can’t you speak when we come for the Asanteman Council meetings?
“It is because they have brought you money at home so you are unable to report the issue. I hear some of you are also given gold when they visit you, how about that?” he quizzed.
At a meeting with the American ambassador weeks back, Otumfuo lamented the extent of damage that galamsey was wreaking on the environment and tasked the government to take charge and deal with the menace.
The issue of who must take the lead in the anti-galamsey fight has dominated public discourse in the last few months.
Galamsey has become topical in recent months with the resurgence of news on its continued negative impact on the environment.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo at an October 5, 2022 meeting with the National House of Chiefs and selected Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives, MMDCEs, restated his resolve to root out the canker.
He called on the chiefs to support a fight that he admitted had not gone the way his government had wanted it to after having stated in 2017 that he was putting his presidency on the line to fight it.
The issue has also been given impetus following the rearrest last month of a notorious galamsey kingpin in the person of Aisha Huang.
The Chinese national who had as of 2018 been repatriated from Ghana after the state discontinued a criminal trial against her for galamsey, reentered the country on the blind side of the authorities.