The Speaker of Parliament, Prof Aaron Michael Oquaye, has disclosed that Parliament will partner the media in a union he called “Parliament And The Media Coalition In The Fight Against Galamsey”, to curb the menace of illegal mining.
Prof Oquaye assured Ghanaians that the partnership with the media will be a major agenda for discussion at the next Board Meeting of the Parliamentary Service, where it will be formalised and considered as a duty to the dead, the living and an inheritance to the yet-to-be-born generation.
This partnership against illegal mining, again, he said, will become an integral part of activities marking 25 years of Ghana’s uninterrupted parliamentary democracy.
The Speaker disclosed this when members of the steering committee of the Media Coalition Against Galamsey paid a courtesy call on him on Wednesday, 25 April 2018 in Accra.
Prof Oquaye observed that the 1992 Republican Constitution which enjoins all citizens to uphold the right to life of every individual, also made conditions for the protection of such rights, hence no member of society should be allowed to deny others such rights to life through illegal mining activities.
Prof Oquaye expressed worry that Ghana’s number one foreign earner, cocoa; while water, which is equivalent to life and the environment, are under serious attack from galamsey activities.
He stated that parliament needs the collaboration of advocates such as the Media Coalition to help achieve results in the fight against galamsey.
He also called for sustained public education to enable the citizenry appreciate what galamsey is all about, to help fight the canker, with the support and involvement of all.
A member of the Steering Committee of the Media Coalition Against Galamsey, Ken Ashigbey, said the visit was to brief the Speaker about the Coalition’s observations so far and solicit parliament’s support and involvement as a key stakeholder-institution in the fight against illegal mining.
According to him, the galamsey menace is a result of leadership failure at all levels of our national life.
In Mr Ashigbey’s view, the lack of political will, failed law enforcement, the lack of effective and deterrent justice delivery, failure on the part of the media, the general lack of cohesion among stakeholders, lack of involvement of the local people and the culture of non-involvement of local chiefs, are reasons the country is still grappling with galamsey.
Mr Ashigbey said the solution to the galamsey menace is multifaceted and commended President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for demonstrating political will against galamsey through the efforts of Operation Vanguard, which, he said, have done significantly well in controlling the menace.
However, the group noted that lack of prosecution of offenders will dampen the morale of the security services.
They also urged government to supply night vision goggles; modern technology and the needed resources to enable Operation Vanguard win the battle on a sustainable basis.