May 3, 2018

The Speaker of Parliament, Prof Aaron Michael Oquaye has disclosed that Parliament will partner the media in a union he christened “Parliament and the media Coalition in the Fight against galamsay” to curb the menace of illegal mining in the country.

He indicated that the partnership with the media will be a major agenda for discussion at the next Board meeting of the Parliamentary Service and formalised as a duty to the dead, the living and an inheritance to the yet to be born generation.

The Parliament and Media Partnership against Illegal Mining he said, will become an integral part of activities marking 25 years of Ghana’s uninterrupted Parliamentary democracy.

The Speaker disclosed this when members of the steering committee of the Media Coalition Against Galamsay paid a courtesy call on him Wednesday in Accra.

Prof Oquaye who condemned the act in no uncertain term observed that the 1992 Republican Constitution which enjoins all citizens to uphold the Right to Life of every individual also made conditions for the protection of the rights of other people hence no member of society should be allowed to deny others such rights to life through illegal mining activities which has become an albatross to the country’s development.

Prof Michael Oquaye expressed worry that Ghana’s number one foreign earner cocoa, water which is equivalent to life and the environment are all under serious attack as a result of galamsay activities.

Mr Speaker, an accomplished academician who once presented a paper titled “The Environmental crisis in Africa- the case of Gold Mining in Africa” called for an all stakeholder involvement to help curb the menace.

He stated that Parliament as the House of Representatives of the people requires the collaboration of advocates such as the media coalition to help achieve results in the fight against galamsay.

Prof Michael Oquaye also urged the need for sustained public education to enable the citizenry appreciate what galamsay is all about to help fight the canker.

A member of the Steering Committee of the Media Coalition Against Galamsay, Ken Ashigbey said the visit was to brief the Speaker and leadership about the Coalition’s observations so far and solicit Parliament’s support and involvement as a key stakeholder institution in the fight against illegal mining.

He blamed leadership failure at all levels of our national life as the cause of the galamsay menace.
Mr Ashigey mentioned the lack of political will, failed law enforcement, the lack of effective and deterrent justice delivery system, failure on the part of the media, the general lack of cohesion among stakeholders, lack of involvement of the local people and the culture of non-involvement of local chiefs among others as reasons the country is still where it is on illegal mining with its attendant challenges.

The Coalition also reported that the involvement of foreigners especially Chinese nationals in the menace was much appalling.

Mr Ashigeby said the solution to the galamsay menace is multifaceted and commended the President for demonstrating political will against galamsay through activities of Operation Vanguard which he said has performed significantly in controlling the challenge.

However, the group noted that lack of prosecution of offenders who are arrested will dampen the moral of security services in the fight.

They also urged government to supply the forces with night vision goggles, modern day technology gadgets and all the needed resources to enable them win the battle on a sustainable basis.

Whiles advocating critical measures to curb the menace including regular updates on the Multi-sectoral Mining Integrated Project (MMIP), the group also urged Parliament to get actively involve especially in communities where the act is dominant.

The Coalition invited Parliament to join the campaign against illegal miming in its “Operation Red Friday” by wearing red attires or armbands on the last Friday in May in protest against illegal mining.

“It should never be said that, during our time, the resources of our country was poisoned through galamsay”, Mr Ashigvey said.

Another member of the Coalition, Managing Director of the News Times Corporation, madam Carol Annan advocated resourcing of the media to embark on investigations that would result in naming and shaming of perpetrators to help sustain the work of Operations Vanguard.

By Christian Kpesese/