The Information Minister has said government’s interest in fighting against illegal mining made President Akufo-Addo a subject of victimisation at some point.
Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said President Akufo-Addo has had his share of denial in his bid to curb the menace.
“President Akufo-Addo has himself been a victim of this fight against galamsey. The reality is that there are so many people internally and externally involved in this galamsey who end up fighting any president who desires to do a good job at it.”
He was reacting to concerns raised after the President charged all to keep the conversation about ending the operation, also known as ‘galamsey’, open even as he delivered his last state of the nation address on Tuesday.
“There is one subject… I believe we the people need to have an open conversation, and that is the phenomenon of galamsey. Should we allow or not allow galamsey?” President Akufo-Addo quizzed in Parliament.
But speaking on JoyNews’ PM: Express show Tuesday, the Offoase Ayeribi MP explained that the question was a rhetorical one.
“The point the President was making is that we have to come around the table as leaders and have a conversation that this is not because it feeds my party or it could give my party a political gain, therefore, let me seek to make partisan political capital out of it.
Mr Akufo-Addo will not support such a move as he is keen on putting an end to galamsey, the Information Minister said on JoyNews.
“Because if we do that, then we collectively lose, that’s the conversation the president is asking us to have because he takes his presidency on the line, he has taken bullets for it, he’s lost parliamentary seats.”
According to him, the NPP lost some votes in the just-ended polls because of the campaign against the illegal actions.
“I hear people ask how come your margin dropped from 900 thousand to 500 thousand?.
“We (NPP) are clear in our minds that the fight against galamsey is one of the reasons, if you look at the returns for many of the galamsey areas, they voted heavily against the president and his candidates because at the same time, while even internal party persons were sabotaging the fight, you also have people on the other side of the political device.”
Mr Oppong Nkrumah called on the media and the civil society to join the conversation and not just treat it as a challenge meant for the government to tackle.
“Be quick to call it out and say guys, you may be on the other of the political device looking for power but you cannot say this to galamsey operators just because you want them to vote for you, you are undermining the national fight.
“And Mr President, these people in your party who are involved in this enterprise is not good enough for us to a think-tank.”
President Akufo-Addo on Tuesday indicated that “the pollution of our rivers and water bodies has been so acute on occasions that the Ghana Water Company Limited is unable to afford the distilling of water to make for safe drinking.”
To buttress that point, the Information Minister observed that if Ghanaians allow politicians to engage in butter trade with ‘galamsey’ operators, the outcome may affect the future generations as “everybody is afraid to lose parliamentary seats and losing presidential margins if he touches that risk called galamsey.”
“If everybody wants to politically posture and gain from it, your children and my children may not have water to drink. President Akufo-Addo is clear that we have to deal with it.”