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By Cameron Duodu

(The Ghanaian Times 20 June 2017)

“WE fought against powers and principalities!”

SO said President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, as he narrated to the nation, how he won the 2016 election.

He is still fighting them, I think!

For look at the battle he's engaged in against the galamsey operators, who are laying our water-bodies and farmlands to waste, in such a ruthless and unconscionable fashion.

One would have thought that every sensible person, with an ounce of patriotism in him/her, would realise that if we don't stop the devastation, there will be no water – or food – for us to hand over to the generations that follow us.

But although this country counts more so-called “Christians” amongst its populace than most other nations, and although the Bible tells us in sundry places about how the Israelites took great care of the land they inherited from Abraham, Isaac and other Patriarchs – we, despite our unsurpassed knowledge of the Bible – have been sitting down unconcerned whilst our heritage is despoiled by evil people.

The Israelites went to war on countless occasions to safeguard their heritage of lands and water.

We, on the other hand, just watch ours being wantonly destroyed. Yet we would claim to be disciples of Israeli Prophets!

Ah, don't we flock to churches?

Don't we “give everything to God?!”

But did not God endow the young David with power to go and confront ad defeat Goliath, when Goliath and his people invaded the land of Israel?

Remember the “walls of Jericho”?

Defend the land! – God seemed to be telling the Israelites all the time.

But we, fools that we are, have opened ourselves up voluntarily to foreigners and their local fifth columnists, who keep demonstrating their own cleverness to us, as they outwit us, not only in the bush theatres of galamsey, but even in the modern edifices of our own law courts.

Didn't the outgoing Chief Justice designate some courts to deal specially with galamsey offences? But did her edict go with instructions to judicial officials to be extra strict in applying the letter of the law to galamsey suspects?

I don't know.

All I know is that the “queen-pin” of galamsey, “Aisha”, was granted bail by a court, as were some of her employees!

In the process of obtaining bail, they unwittingly exposed to us, how clever they really are.

For two of the Chinese nationals charged with Aisha were allowed to go free on bail, although they claimed they had “lost” their passports and could thus not fulfil one of the bail conditions set by the court!


They “lost their passports?”

Is that not one of the lamest excuses that a person who does not want to surrender his passport to the authorities can give?

Be that as it may, WHO was it who allowed them to be freed in the first place, even though they had not fulfilled one of the bail conditions?

Answer: stony silence from the judicial authorities. And the police, who had opposed bail in the first instance.

Should whoever allowed them to go free without fulfilling the bail conditions not be queried, at the very least?

Yet another instance of stony silence from the judicial authorities.

Was the magistrate who set the bail conditions not curious about why the court's order had not been fulfilled to the letter and yet bail had been granted to the accused?

We don't know! All we know is that the bail of the accused persons was revoked because the conditions had not been fulfilled.

Are we jokers or what?The court had been defied. But..... No questions. No action!

Is this how the officials of a nation that had “declared war” on a particular social evil, carry out the functions they have sworn to execute without fear or favour?

Where were these officials when the elected President of our country promised to defeat galamsey, even if it cost him the next election? What do they understand by the state's policy on galamsey, as publicly enunciated by the nation's President and Commander-in-Chief?

What view is taken of these lapses by the Director of the Criminal Investigations Department of the Ghana Police? Is he interested at al in finding out how exactly galamsey operates, in order that he may be able to provide the Government with authentic intelligence on how to fight it effectively?

If the Director of the CID was interested in the campaign against galamsey, the first thing he would have done, when he was told that Aisha and members of her gang had been “bailed”, would have been to say, “Ahah! But who at all had the courage – or effrontery – to bail these people who are so much in the glare of public attention?

“Why didn't those people fear that their reputations would be tarnished by publicly identifying themselves as people who had an “interest” in the freeing of the accused persons?

“Are they the main culprits in the galamsey menace, although they have not themselves been caught in the police net?”

A great lead in investigating the financing – and organisation – of galamsey operations, wouldn't you say? But the CID seems asleep or at any rate is not seeking answers to the right questions..

Okay, so the CID wasn't curious enough. What about EOCO? Or is galamsey not an “ economic crime”? Are the rivers and streams of our country – and the farmlands – not the pivot around which our entire economy revolves?

Okay, so EOCO has its hands full trying to retrieve moneys stolen by our former political rulers. What about the BNI?

Isn't the BNI primarily concerned with gathering information about political developments in the country?

Is the BNI not aware that some galamseyers have been making open threats against the elected President of our country? If people make threats against the President, shouldn't the BNI try to find out all about them, in case their verbal threats are a small part of a nefarious conspiracy that could imperil the security of the state? Especially in the wake of the brutal murder of Major Max Manama?

Other bodies that claim to be interested in the anti-galamsey campaign should also have had their curiosity aroused by the fact that the sureties laid down by the court were fulfilled in a matter of hours.

For instance – the Media Coalition Against Galamsey. Is it not unusual that not a single reporter from a single media establishment; not a single member of the top brass of the media establishment; has been intrigued enough to get his organisation to “pry” into who it was that fulfilled the bail conditions of Aisha and her gang?

Are they not interested in who pays the gang's lawyers?

Are these not legitimate areas of enquiry, in the public interest?

It may be hyperbolical to put the battle against galamsey in the same category as the battle against “powers and principalities” spoken of in the Bible. But the hyperbole is only skin-deep.

For is it not – also – a marvel that so many state institutions that are supposed to be taking care of our natural resources are themselves deeply involved in destroying these resources, and at the same time?

Think of the role played by the Water Resources Commission, in allowing some rivers and streams to be diverted and/or dredged, as emerged in an ongoing court case about how a group of persons carried out dredging in the Ankobra Basin without permits.


What permits?

Why should anyone be given a permit to interfere with the natural flow of a river or stream from which thousands of people draw their drinking water?

Is the existence of such permits to dredge and divert rivers not an invitation for criminals to carry out similar operations – but without permits – and bribe their way out of trouble, when they are caught?

Who initiated such a diabolical policy of issuing permits for the diversion and dredging of water-bodies, without taking account of the corruption that is endemic in the country and which would turn the requirement for permits into an irrelevant academic exercise?

Next, think of the Forestry Commission, whose negligence – or complicity – can result in long-preserved forest reserves being destroyed, alongside the water-bodies that spring from the forests and are protected by them.

Days have gone by since a journalist, Mr Kweku Baako, openly alleged on TV that “top” people in the Forestry Commission were selling patches of land from the forest reserves to galamsey operators.

In view of Mr Baako's close association with Anas Aremeyaw Anas – a journalist whose credibility has been proved to be of diamond quality – shouldn't the Ministry that oversees the Forestry Commission have instituted an official enquiry into his allegation and the challenge emanating from it? Did he not offer to be a witness at such an enquiry?
Next, think of the Minerals Commission..... (Sigh!)

Think of the Environmental Protection Agency..... (Bigger sigh!

The list goes on.

At every stage in the galamsey devastation, state institutions have consistently failed to do their duty by the populace whose sweat puts food on the tables of the institutions' employees.

But we just sit and watch. Or try to reform them with words.

It's as if galamsey has procured “powers and principalities” of its own who have hypnotised us to sit down and watch as the wanton destruction of our country continues.

Given the glaring and unimaginable failures of state institutions across the board – it seems as if the powers and principalities have been transmogrified into new “forces” that wish to ensure that Nana Akufo-Addo should be politically felled – as he tries to fight galamsey.

They are probably laughing at him behind his back!.

Courage, then, Nana!

Surprise them!

The Nation waits to see the outcome of this inimitable battle of wits!


Cameron Duodu

June 21, 2017





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