Some chiefs in the Kyebi traditional area are unhappy with the president for describing Kyebi as the headquarters of galamsey in Ghana.
The President, John Mahama, made these remarks when he visited the Eastern Region this week.
He said: “…excuse me to say, Kyebi Abuakwa has turned into the headquarters of galamsey [illegal mining] in Ghana. I came here by air and if you see how the land is being destroyed, it saddens me.”
The president’s remark has provoked mixed reactions from the Akyem Abuakwa traditional area.
Speaking on Eyewitness News, the chief of staff of the Okyenhene, Barima Yentumi Boaman described the president’s statement as “rather unfortunate.”
“The minerals are owned by government, galamsey is illegal and we are being told that Kyebi is the headquarters; then one is at a loss as to who made Kyebi galamsey. Is it the owner who should have protected the mineral or the people at Kyebi?” he asked.
He insisted that it is unfortunate for the president to make that statement because the people in the area “are a bit upset.”
He likened the description of the area to corruption saying “corruption goes on everywhere so when you pinpoint a place and say that that place is the headquarters of corruption in Ghana, I don’t think his Excellency was being fair to the people of Kyebi.”
Barima Yentumi Boaman added that the people in the area are not blowing the matter out of proportion although the president prefixed his statement with the phrase, ‘excuse me to say’.
According to him, that prefix does not take away the true meaning of the president’s remarks.
“If you say a place is the headquarters of an illegality, then what else can that mean?” he asked.
The country has been battling with the upsurge in illegal mining across the country as the practice is depleting the land and destroying farm lands, forest reserves and water bodies.
The president has set up a galamsey task force to clamp down on the practice and reduce to it barest minimum.