The fate of mining communities.

Before every political party comes to power, massive campaigns are done. As we all know, campaigns aid the political party to let the people know what they could do when in power.

Political party candidates travel to remote areas of the country, far away from the capital. They absolute have no choice but to campaign to those areas to deliver their sweet promises. And with certainty, promise to fulfill it. Especially, to those in the remote areas.

An anarchist political activist and writer, Emma Goldman once said, “politicians promise you heaven before election and give you hell after”. That’s the situation in some part of the western region. The western part of the country is typically known as the part of the country where the precious stone, well known as gold could be attained. Communities such as Prestea, Bogoso, Wassa Akropong, Tarkwa, just to mention a few. Albeit these communities are known for its massive production of gold, however, they lack development the most.

I’m born and bred in Prestea, I’ve always been a victim and also observed the happenings in this community. Prestea, is the third largest contributor of gold in Ghana. In 2O16, the Canadian gold mining company in the constituency and also in the community, Golden Star Bogoso Prestea Limited, sold 23,893 ounces of gold from the belly of the soil. However, this community lack a portion of the national cake.

In case you know nothing about Prestea, it’s located in the western region. Approximately, three hour drive from the regional capital, Takoradi. If that not clear enough, remember it came in news in 2O17, where 22 illegal miners got trapped in a pit. That’s the Prestea I am talking about.

Being one of the largest contributor of gold in the country, this community lacks so many developmental project, especially, roads. Roads in this community is at its deplorable state. That’s not all.  23.4km road from Bogoso to Prestea take you fifty minutes to an hour to get to the destination. Just 23.4 km, that tells how appalling the road is.

I remember when former President John Dramani Mahama visited during the campaign for the 2O16 general election. He made mention of the terrible road and pledged to fix it when in power. The story is no different from the other political candidates.

Recent one which readily comes to mind is the visit of the veep, Mahamudu Bawumia in May 2O18, together with the Member of Parliament for Prestea Huni-Valley constituency, Barbara Oteng Gyasi. He promised the government is going to fix the roads in the community and he has observed how bad the road is.
Undeniably, there was great joy in hearts of the people. Most importantly, the indigenes had high hope the current situation of the road is going to be fixed anytime soon. However, little progress has been made. The name Prestea appeared in the mid-year budget. That was progress. Since then, nothing significant has been made.

There is a saying which goes, “when the last tree dies, the last man dies.” Is the government waiting for something tragic and terrible to happen before these roads to be fixed? Is the government waiting for the youth in the community to demonstrate before he fulfill his promise?

The story in Tarkwa eerily echoes that of Prestea. This is a town also known as the production of the precious stone. Moreover, roads in the community is in a bad state.

Quite recently, members of the community embarked on a demonstration. Youth in that community demonstrated against the terrible roads. They have embarked on countless demonstrations, but nothing changes. As a result, five people were arrested. Dozens of cars were halted and could not continue their journey. The question I always ask is. Must citizens demonstrate before they get what they deserve? Your answer is as good as mine. But that absolutely not right.

“Demonstrations don’t build roads.” That was the ministers respond to the road blocks and demonstration.

Bad roads in the communities’ does not just affect out cars or our transportation but the human lives due to the rate of the dust inhaled.Moreover dust particles could cause irritation of the eye, coughing, sneezing and hay fever.

I remember when the operation vanguard team was dispatched to some part of the country to bring to a halt of the illegal mining. Prestea happens to be one of the communities’ illegal mining activities was on the rise. The action taken by government during that era was abrilliant idea. In my point of view, the government should do likewise to these areas when it comes to the development.

The government in power has fulfill much of their promises. Could talk of the free SHS, nursing training allowance restoration, national digital property addressing system, paperless port transactions, just to mention a few. And without a shadow of doubt, the Akufo Addo government has done great job being in their third year in office.

In my point of view, the government and the mining company in the community, Golden Star resources, should come together and fix this roads. Just as the Gold Fields Ghana limited partnered with the Ghana government to fix the Aboso to Tarkwa-Damang road as part of their silver jubilee celebration. Golden Star Bogoso Prestea Limited partnering with the government to fix the road will enable the people to realise the relevance of mining company in the community.

 

ABDUL SAMMED MORO

LEVEL 3OO

GHANA INSTITUTE OF JOURNALISM

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