It will be very difficult for any chief in Ghana to stop illegal mining commonly referred to in Ghana as galamsey.
This according to the Okyenhene, Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin. According to the chief, the fight is beyond traditional rulers because they do not have the power which lies completely at the doorsteps of central government.
“Yes, there may be some chiefs clandestinely doing this [galamsey], but I can tell you, I’m not holding brief for them, most of what goes on is beyond the chief’s power,” he said.
Some Ghanaians have accused chiefs of conniving with the illegal miners to perpetuate the activity with impunity.They complained that because the chiefs are the custodians of the lands, such activity cannot be undertaken on their lands without their permission.
The Okyenhene speaking in an exclusive interview with host of the Citi Breakfast Show, Bernard Avle, explained that they [the chiefs] are only custodians of the land, but “what is underneath the land does not belong to chiefs.”
“The constitution says it clearly, that gold is the property of the Republic of Ghana and the president is vested with that power on behalf and in trust of the people. So the gold according to the constitution has to be protected and looked after by the president. So any chief who happens to grant land to any galamseyer to do galamsey is first in violation of the law. Most of what you hear is not chiefs granting lands, its individual farmers who are approached by these galamseyers to buy their land and then they proceed to inform the chief that the minerals commission has issued me a license to come and do this and so these persons have granted me the land and so they give the chief, what we call drink money,” he added.
I don’t condone galamsey – Okyenhene replies critics
Okyenhene, Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin, also rubbished allegations that he condones illegal mining.
The Okyenhene has been criticized for looking unconcerned while illegal miners destroy water bodies and lands within the Akyem Abuakwa state, but in an exclusive interview with host of the Citi Breakfast Show, Bernard Avle on Tuesday, Ofori Panin said his critics were either ignorant or mischievous.
There has been a lot of pressure on government in recent times to stop illegal miners from polluting water bodies and farmlands.
Analysts have predicted that Ghana may soon import water if the trend persists.
By: Godwin Akweiteh Akweiteh/citifmonline.com/Ghana