– Group Tells Mahama
By Gifty Arthur
A youth group within the Akyem Abuakwa catchment area in the Eastern Region, has taken exception to description by President John Mahama that Kyebi and its environs has become the headquarters of small scale mining popularly known as galamsey.
The group, “Youth of Okyenman”, in a statement issued yesterday said, it was regrettable for the President to have tagged that part of the region so adding that they did not see the reason behind his conclusion, because the fact that, that illegal activity pertains in that area did not mean that it has to be described so.
They continued that if it was that simple to arrive at that conclusion, then Ghanaians would have nicknamed the seat of government as headquarters of corruption, as several corrupt activities over the period, have been traced to that edifice.
“We do not want the people of Ghana to describe the Flagstaff House, the seat of government, as the ‘headquarters of corruption’ in view of the mounting evidence of government officials fattening on the foliage of state life”.
Last week, as part of his three days working visit to the region, President Mahama, at the commissioning of a United Nation (UN) funded water project at Kyebi, said that “excuse me to say Akyem Abuakwa has turned into headquarters of galamsey in Ghana. I came here by air and if you see how the land is being destroyed, it saddens me”.
The President almost cried about the popular Birim River, which used to be a source of drinking water for the people in the area, but has been heavily polluted with Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) requiring huge doses of expensive water treatment chemicals to make it drinkable.
But the statement signed by OYA General Secretary, Daniel Marfo-Atta said that the leadership of Okyenman Youth Association (OYA) saw the comment by the president as “provocative”.
The group said they saw the galamsey menace as a national issue which needed national attention, not mere tagging of it.
“We wish to state that the galamsey issue is a national challenge borne out of many interrelated factors. Okyenman cannot be an exception.
The issue of illegal mining is never an Akyem Abuakwa phenomenon,” it noted. It called on the president to be guided by his comments and institute practical and deliberate measures that will alleviate the youth from poverty and mass destitution.
“We do not want the people of Ghana to describe the Flagstaff House, the seat of government, as the ‘headquarters of corruption’ in view of the mounting evidence of government officials fattening on the foliage of state life.
“We urge the president to focus his energies on meeting the aspirations of the youth of Ghana and refrain from making slanderous and sectarian comments which (sic) has the potential to undermine national unity and cohesion”.
This comes barely two months after Member of Parliament (MP) for Abuakwa South Samuel Atta Akyea, was cursed through libation at an Accra-based radio station, Montie FM, by chiefs from that area for also lamenting about the galamsey menace in the area, citing powerful people as being behind the illegal activity.
The MP, had described the situation as a calamity and said, the illegal miners had even taken their activities to the Abuakwa State College, as well as the Okyehene’s Palace, popularly called “Ofori Panyi Fie”.