Tag: President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo


Massive Inter-party Applause as Nana Addo relegates Galamsey to History

Governments have come and gone, presidents and heads of state have come and gone, ministers responsible for lands and mineral resources have come and gone but none of these were able to stop galamsey or relegate it to the abyss of forgetfulness. Indeed Nana Addo has done what all the others could not do. The reason why this illegal mining could gain roots, thus becoming untouchable and unstoppable was that, influential people including top executives, politicians, chiefs and even top police and military officers, all had a stake in the galamsey by condoning, and conniving with young boys to do illegal mining for them.

Galamsey which was a crude form of the statement, “gather them and sell,” is an illegal mining activity by both young and old with the full support and connivance of big and influential men in the society. This illegal activity started long before Ghana gained its independence. Ghana happens to be the 10th leading producer of gold in the entire world and 2nd in Africa. This illegal mining activity became a blessing and a curse and this will be explained in detail in the article. The curse far outweighed the blessings due to health hazards, environmental degradation, the destruction of farm lands and the indiscriminate pollution of water bodies.

Mining itself is a major economic activity in many developing countries. In Ghana, small-scale mining was once a respected traditional vocation. In the late 80s, the government officially legalized small-scale mining. This decision brought to the fore some challenges, including the mechanism by which the government granted concession to peasants. The process was very cumbersome and slow, thus compelling many to mine illicitly. Galamsey began in earnest and boomed from regime to regime, only to intensify during Mahama’s regime. Since then galamsey became a source of livelihood for those who live near the legal mining communities. They were motivated to enter the illegal mining due to unemployment, poverty and increase in price of gold in the world market. As a result many people including the jobless have swarmed the mining areas to engage in galamsey. Even those whose cocoa trees could not yield much, have abandoned farming and joined the galamsey business.

Ghana is naturally well endowed with fresh water sources. The abundance of water sources was an envy of most countries that have no such water sources. Sadly enough, these illegal miners are busy polluting and destroying our enviable, fresh and drinkable water sources right under the very noses of governments, local authorities and concerned Ghanaians. Environmentalists and climate scientists have consistently warned the local population that if the destruction and pollution of the water sources persist, within the next 20 to 30 years, water will have to be imported from other countries. These shameless and illegal miners do not think or are even conscious of any precautionary measures to be taken to abate the nuisance. The mighty river Supong which runs in Asiakwa in the Eastern region is a pathetic example of continuous pollution. Supong River which once provided cool, clean and extremely refreshing water to drink has now turned smelly and yellowish. The river is now filled with mud, algae and weeds.

The situation became worse when the Chinese travelled to Ghana in their numbers and directed their journeys towards the gold mining areas in the Ashanti, Western and Eastern regions. Their presence was much felt during the rule of former president Mahama. Majority of them joined the illegal mining. Some of them were fronted and aided by Ghanaians to register small scale mining companies. Since they had a lot of money, they were able to pay the local chiefs for land to be released for their mining activities to begin. Even cocoa farms were sold to them to be destroyed for gold mining purposes. Heavy machines including excavators and tipper trucks were brought from China to help in their search for gold. Soon they began to destroy more farms and water bodies with cyanide and other dangerous products used to fish for the gold.

Concerned Ghanaians protested against the Chinese involvement in galamsey and small scale mining. The Chinese met the anger and protest of Ghanaians with force. So far not less than ten Ghanaians have been shot dead by the Chinese and not even a single Chinese was put before court. The gaping holes created by illegal mining have trapped and killed many children, women and farmers. Yet they are heavily protected by police and retired soldiers in military uniforms.

Small scale mining and not galamsey could have been an important source of livelihood for relatively low-income Ghanaians, as well as highly significant for the economy as a whole. Sadly enough, this area has been taking over by Chinese in contravention of the Mineral and Mining Act 206 and Act 703. These Acts outline clearly that small scale mining is strictly reserved for Ghanaians. If the law says so, why then do we allow Chinese citizens to enter and completely take over small-scale mining? The Chinese are smarter. They put Ghanaians in the fore-front to register the companies on their behalf.

The situation in the mining areas had gotten out of hand. Cocoa trees and other crops were being uprooted and destroyed by the Chinese to give way to galamsey and small-scale mining. The environment was being destroyed, water bodies were being polluted, gaping holes were being abandoned in the forest, abandoned holes have ensnared and killed many and the Chinese are gunning down and hacking people down at random. Several complaints and protests were launched by concerned Ghanaians for an effective leader and government to emerge to save the mining areas from illegal miners.

Happily in January 2017, a courageous leader, a visionary, a disciplined and an incorrupt man, Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo was sworn in as the fifth president of Ghana. One Friday in

galamsey ‘queen’ Aisha Huang

Kumasi, few months after assuming power as a deputy Minister for lands and mineral resources, Madam Barbara Oteng Gyasi disclosed in Kumasi that the NPP government would soon apply force and technology to fight illegal miners and warned those involved to refrain  from the practice.

Her message fell on deaf ears. Military men and police officers were deployed to the mining areas and with the help of detective devices they were able to drive illegal miners away and all their excavators and other equipment were seized. A die-hard, stubborn Chinese woman named Aisha was arrested three times for illegal mining despite the government’s ban. She was released three times because she blackmailed the powers that be with tapes and videos she commissioned Chinese women to have sexual encounter with Ghanaian power brokers. After her startling revelations, she was arrested for the fourth and this arrest may probably be the last and she may either be imprisoned or repatriated to China.
Already majority of Ghanaians are applauding Nana Addo for his determination to relegate illegal mining into the abyss of forgetfulness and to ensure that small scale miners conform to the laws. The government has a great job on its hand to clean the polluted water bodies and to fill all the gaping holes to prevent further accidents.

By Stephen Atta Owusu

CDD-GHANA STATEMENT ON PRESIDENT AKUFO-ADDO’S APPOINTMENT OF 110 MINISTERS AND DEPUTY MINISTERS

The Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) is deeply dismayed by reports that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has nominated an additional 54 people to serve as ministers or deputies to the various ministries. When confirmed by Parliament, as they are more than likely to, that would bring the total number of ministers and deputy ministers appointed so far in the Akufo-Addo-led NPP government to an unprecedented 110.

CDD-Ghana considers this move and the obscene number of ministers a wrong one for several reasons:
First, it would represent the largest ministerial team assembled by any president/head of state of Ghana since independence. In addition, it also sets a negative record for a country infamous for its

Akufo Addo with ministerial nominees

oversized ministerial teams. The United States, a larger and more economically and financially complex country has approximately 46 ministers. Similarly, India, a country of some 1.3 billion has 75 ministers. It is being argued that the large ministerial team will bring more focus, supervision, and efficiency to President Akufo-Addo’s ambitious governance and socio-economic plans. In the Center’s view, this argument is weak, as there is no proven relationship between a large government and a well-governed, prosperous society. In addition, there is no correlation or causation between the large retinue of political heads and political/socio-economic transformation. What is clear and certain is that, a smaller government is a cost saving measure that signals a high level of discipline and focus of a government that wants to protect the public purse.

Second, the appointments betray inadequate sensitivity to the weak fiscal condition of the country today, as it flies in the face of the President’s promise to protect the public purse. It is difficult to see how appointing such a large number of ministers, who will all be on ministerial salaries and benefits, can possibly amount to the promise of protecting the public purse. Indeed, a reduction in the cost of running government, including appointing the minimum number of ministers required by the Constitution, particularly those drawn from Parliament, was one of the list of 10 actions CDD-Ghana urged the Akufo-Addo-led NPP government to undertake in its first year.

Third, it further undermines Ghana’s already weak state bureaucracy. Placing a team of politician ministers on top of the existing hierarchy of the ministries will lead to unnecessary duplication of senior personnel and eventually undermine the authority of the professional senior civil and public servants (particularly, chief directors and directors) in the same ministries; it will also encourage the politicisation of the bureaucracy.
In addition, the appointment of that many ministers does not in any way help to address the structural weakness of Parliament vis a vis the Executive, which the President alluded to, in his State of the Nation Address.
By appointing so many of his ministers and deputy ministers from Parliament, currently standing at 64 MPs, the President is further weakening the legislative body and at the same time undercutting his own promise to strengthen the institution to enable it serve as an effective check on the Executive.
Above all, CDD-Ghana is deeply concerned about the negative signals sent out by these appointments. We note with consternation that nearly the entire presidential and ruling party campaign team as well as a large number of NPP MPs have been appointed to ministerial and other state bureaucratic positions. This suggests a continuation of the anti-developmental practice of “party in government” system (conflation of the ruling party and the government), whereby political appointments are treated as ‘jobs-for-the boys’ or some form of material reward for individuals who played key roles in the election campaign of the president and his party, and an opportunity for them to rake in “rents.”

Akufo Addo with regional ministers appointees

To be sure, the president’s appointment of as many as 50 ministers and 60 deputies may have been made in strict conformity with the provisions of the 1992 Constitution and long-standing practices in Ghana’s 4th Republic. However, in the exercise of his legitimate discretionary authority, President Akufo-Addo would have been better served by heeding to the admonition in 1st Corinthians, 10:23: “I have the right to do anything, but not everything is beneficial. I have the right to do anything, but not everything is constructive.”

In this instance, the Center wishes President Nana Akufo-Addo had taken a lesson from the examples of Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and John Magafuli of Tanzania who significantly downsized the size of their governments to signify “change” upon assumption of office – instead of lowering the bar of unwisely ministerial size and government in Ghana’s 4th Republic.

Accordingly, the Center implores the President to reduce the number of deputy ministerial nominees sent to Parliament for vetting and approval; and additionally calls on the President to publish the salaries and emoluments of all appointed public office holders so Ghanaians can begin to appreciate the true cost of governing the country.
Lastly, CDD-Ghana fervently prays that the NPP government does not attach an army of technical advisers to the already bloated personnel at the ministries, departments, and agencies of the state. In the medium term, the Center would like to see a law passed that puts a ceiling on the maximum number of ministers and deputies the President can appoint at a time, and or make it mandatory for the President to explicitly provide the rationale for appointing more than one deputy minister per ministry.
The Center urges the Akufo-Addo-led NPP administration to be sensitive to the voice of the people and take steps to reduce the growing burden on the public purse.
For further information, please contact CDD-Ghana on: info@cddgh.org or on 0302-776142/763029