Member of Parliament for Sefwi Wiawso, Kwaku Afriyie, has admitted that the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo-led New Patriotic Party government has suffered setbacks in the fight against illegal small scale mining – popularly known as ‘galamsey.’
According to him, he was ready to put his parliamentary seat on the line if that is what it will take to eradicate the scourge.
“If I do not [contest] again or the NPP in Sefwi Wiawso should lose, so be it. We are willing to lose the seat because we are fighting against galamsey,” he said on current affairs program, Face to Face, that aired this week on Accra-based Citi TV.
The MP who is also the Minister of Environment, Science and Innovation, during the interview spoke extensively about the imperative to destroy seized excavators and also to ban their use for small scale mining.
“When we [government] get small arms like AKA 47 why don’t we distribute it to the military but burn it? We have tried all sort of things [against galamsey] but they don’t work. This is not the government’s policy but my personal policy.
“If they get the excavators, they should burn them in the forest. If we burn about four excavators, the rest will come and negotiate. I have seen it before with the chainsaw operators; when you seize them, people get around the law and when the law catches you, you will have to release it,” he said about destroying excavators on the spot.
On the issue of banning excavator use, he submitted that doing so will be the ultimate solution to cleansing water bodies of contamination and pollution which are adverse by-products of galamsey.
I’m prepared to put my presidency on the line to fight galamsey
The Minister’s views on sacrificing his political fortunes to fight galamsey has been advanced by President Akufo-Addo in 2017 when he disclosed that he was ready to put his presidency on the line to fight the menace.
“I have said it in the Cabinet, and perhaps this is the first time I am making this public, that I am prepared to put my Presidency on the line on this matter.
“If by the grace of God, my party allows me to go again and I have the health and everything to go again but do not get it again, then I will say to myself: ‘Well, this is a choice I have to make as a human being.’ Do you do what is right or what you think will make you get along? I think you do what is right and what you are required to do,” Nana Addo said in a meeting with traditional leaders.