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Veteran journalist, Cameron Duodu, has described illegal mining commonly known as ‘galamsey’ as “prospective genocide” which is endangering the lives of future generations.
Mr. Duodu recalled that in the olden days, “although our ancestors engaged in galamsey activities, they did so without polluting water bodies and destroying farm lands”.
“These galamsey people say they want to make a living, but our ancestors dug gold so much that this place was called Gold Coast but they didn’t ruin any rivers while doing that. They loved their rivers!” he told the host of The Lounge, Kwaku Sakyi-Addo.
According to him, our ancestors highly respected water bodies and thus, treated them as human beings.
He explained saying, “Our ancestors were so clever; they treated the rivers like people. Brim has a name – her name is Brim Abena, born on Tuesday. On Tuesday, nobody is allowed to go and work on a farm near the Brim and you can’t cross it on Tuesdays. Natural common sense told them to allow the river to regenerate itself. Tano in Ashanti is called Tano Kronkron – pure Tano. They don’t allow women to cross it in case they are in their menses and they might drop something in it to pollute it.”
Mr. Duodu who is also an author and African affairs specialist, wondered why Ghanaians were willing to destroy water bodies gifted to them by nature while other nations are struggling to find natural water.
“What kind of people are we? We have no respect for water…Ghadaffi was digging water from underground to bring it out for use as irrigation. If you go to Saudi Arabia, they spend billions desalinating sea water to make it useful. We sit here, nature gave us the rivers and in our greed for gold, we are just destroying them…and when the President says he will stop it, you say you won’t vote for him,” he remarked.
He commended President Nana Akufo-Addo for efforts being made to clamp down the practice and for refusing to give in to threats of being voted against in the next election.
“The government is right in sending the army after them. By now, they’ve destroyed so much that even if they are stopped, trying to undo what they have done will cost millions but we have to do it. The people who want to earn a living through galamsey do not own the rivers, they didn’t make the water; they came to find it there and they have no right to destroy it for our unborn children to have no water when it is their turn to run the country,” he said.
He advised galamsey operators to “earn a living but earn a living in a legal and decent manner. You cannot destroy the lives of unborn children in order to make a living today. You just don’t have that right to carry out prospective genocide.”
The Lounge with Kwaku Sakyi-Addo airs live on Starr FM every Friday from 7pm to 8pm and on GHOne TV on Sundays from 8pm to 9pm.