According to Ernest Owusu Bempah, a Deputy Director of Communications of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), the National Democratic Congress (NDC) lacks the moral right to criticize the Akufo-Addo administration on the issue of illegal small-scale mining (Galamsey).
He believes that the NDC’s track record in the Galamsey menace is “horrible,” and their conduct is like the pot calling the kettle black.
Bempah’s comments come after the National Communications Officer of the NDC, Sammy Gyamfi, described all government appointees cited in the Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng report as “galamsey kingpins.”
The report details the operations of the erstwhile Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM), citing some government officials for working against the spirited fight against the destruction of forests and water bodies.
According to Professor Frimpong-Boateng, only two ministers – Water and Sanitation and Local Government and Rural Development – kept faith with the mandate of the Committee. All the rest, including the Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, abandoned the Committee.
Frimpong-Boateng indicated that many of the appointees of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo were neck-deep in Galamsey and engaged in the activity with reckless abandon.
The report underscores the fact that “illegal mining has been a free-for-all enterprise” of government appointees. Sammy Gyamfi showed faces of all appointees cited in the report.
In response to Gyamfi’s comments, Mr Owusu-Bempah said that it was the Mahama administration that shamelessly launched the Youth in Small Scale Mining program in the Eastern Region, which apparently opened the floodgate for Galamsey.
He added that the Mahama government issued an indefinite resident permit to Aisha Huang to engage in Galamsey activities. This happened under the Mahama administration, while she was unsuccessful in getting the permit during the President Kufour era.
Owusu-Bempah condemned any attempt by the NDC to rationalize the political economy of Galamsay. He stated that under the John Mahama-led government, the national record of the deleterious impact of Galamsay left a lot to be desired and was simply unprecedented.
He believes that the conduct of the NDC is like the pot calling the kettle black, and anything short of a bipartisan inquiry into the matter will be fiercely resisted.