In an ongoing national conversation, we have been unanimous in asking our eminent chiefs in galamsey communities and, indeed, all endowed areas in Ghana, to be a crucial part of our collective effort at halting the degradation of our natural resources and harnessing them for collective benefit.
From the pulpits and communities through the markets, boardrooms of civil society actors and chiefs’ courts to the corridors of political power, galamsey has become a veritable source of concern. This is because of its implications for food security, potable water supply and threats to gold and cocoa production.
So, we can no longer afford to shelve the topic and pretend that we may wake up one morning having the canker disappeared by a miracle. That is why we must promptly tackle it head-on.
While we may all not mutually agree on the best approach, because of where we stand, none can ignore any input our hallowed traditional authorities would be bringing on board.
At least, before the politician was elected to take centre stage, mining was ongoing, as the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, has noted, without our waters being polluted or agriculture being jeopardised.
So, we have a common platform and basic proposal to enable us collectively initiate abiding structures for halting the madness, reforming the industry to become scientifically productive and sustainable, putting the fruits of the sector to good use and reaping the rewards to improve livelihoods as we provide for future generations.
That is where our focus should now be, as we deploy a combination of advocacy and military strategies to confront the common enemy to our collective heritage.
On that score, all we need then is a ‘Ghana First’ mentality and attitude that agree that the responsibility of tackling the scourge in our communities begins with those in the community, who are residents, families, opinion leaders and natural stakeholders like farmers.
Of course, we need to develop a mindset and attitude for attaining that goal that we must never cede to the greedy politician.
So, we may task our professionals and involve opinion leaders in drawing the attention of the youth in the community in cementing the grounds in mining communities to facilitate the rollout of alternative livelihoods projects to energise productivity in such communities.
With our chiefs and local government authorities in charge on the ground, we may also task Parliament as the representatives of the people to develop the top layer of the structures for our collective, instead of selfish, individual, interests.
In the light of what the implication of galamsey on our national developmental aspirations, we need to unite at this level through our legislative structures and processes, to finally engineer our future as heirs of such rich and lush natural resources.
This is, therefore, not the time to fixate on propaganda; it is time to act to bring out the best in ourselves for our collective wellbeing and our future.
We can no longer afford to joke with the galamsey issue.