For years, muddy, poisoned rivers and acres of reserved forests turned into galamsey pits used to be the norm. Villages and towns that depended on rivers like Pra, Ankobra and Densu had no water because they were so contaminated and unwholesome for any form of domestic use.
Two years down the line, the story has taken a dramatic turn. The fight against illegal Mining (Galamsey) in Ghana sanctioned by the president of the republic, H.E. Nana Akufo-Addo has yielded substantial results after the formation of the Inter Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining(IMCIM) to oversee the ending of the menace.
At the heart of the committee is Charles Onuawontuo Bissue, the groundsman and secretary to the IMCIM who oversees operations and coordinates the activities of the various task forces taking the battle to the illegal Chinese and local miners in the forests and rivers.
Of course it hasn’t been an easy one, there was a lot of corruption at play at the minerals commission and forestry commission which allowed virgin forests to be violated all in the name of finding gold to enrich a few individuals, to the detriment of posterity.
But Charles and his task forces, Operation Vanguard were not deterred, and a clear clean river Ankobrah, river Pra and Densu is the evidence of their hard work and dedication although he made quite a lot of enemies with his solid stance against corruption in discharging the duty assigned him by the president.
THE BITTER ALLEGATIONS
Many were the unsubstantiated allegations by some disgruntled illegal entities who benefitted enormously from galamsey.
But that and any other allegation yet to come will be expected when one takes on a cabal of wealthy unscrupulous, well connected people working for their selfish gains.
THE SUCCESS STORY
The task forces have confiscated over 600 excavators and made over a 1000 arrests. The Chinese Galamsey queen, Aisha Huang was successfully prosecuted and deported from Ghana.
A roadmap to the restoration of licences to registered small scale miners is running smoothly and soon the miners will be back to work. This time we can be assured of a responsible small scale mining industry that mines in a controlled and monitored way to ensure the forest reserves are not destroyed but preserved, our rivers are not contaminated and muddied with poisonous chemicals, efficient environmental protection and reclamation and that appropriate taxes are paid ensure the rest of Ghana enjoys the fruit of the land.
The fight is not over, but it is certainly a fight that the president, IMCIM, Charles Bissue and the entire nation is winning.