There is widespread scare of destoolment within the traditional circles in the Amansie areas of the Ashanti Region.
Uncertain when the Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II will visit the galamsey endemic communities, the fear amongst the chiefs is that, some of them could face destoolment.
“Many of our chiefs are living in fear since the King declared his determination to tackle galamsey head on by summoning chiefs who are compromised in the menace,” a resident of Manso Nkwanta in the Amansie West District told The Thunder on Saturday.
What is compounding the fears of the chiefs is that, they do not know when the King will strike. Besides, illegal mining activities are still ongoing in the communities.
Otumfuo has left no doubt in the minds of the public that he is ready to take his galamsey fight to another level.
In recent times, he has put the radar on chiefs who have allowed galamsey to fester in their activities, warning that they would be sanctioned.
At the launch of the 2023 Green Ghana Day in Kumasi on Wednesday, May 17, 2023, Otumfuo stated emphatically that the rate at which galamsey is causing havoc in the Amansie enclave is untenable and therefore stated that chiefs in the communities would have questions to answer.
He stated: “I am not happy with chiefs in the Amansie area where galamsey has taken over the land and I say to them if you sit there and you think that you don’t know what is happening, then you are not fit to be a chief over there.”
“ I have gotten reports about what is happening and all the chiefs in that area have to answer about what is happening in their area.”
Therefore, the Asantehene announced that he will take a drive around the areas affected by galamsey.
He, however, did not disclose when he will undertake the trip, thus putting the chiefs in a state of uncertainty over their fate.
Since the King made the announcement, there have been reports of widespread galamsey activities in the Amansie West, Amansie Central and Amansie South districts. Pollution of water bodies and destruction of vegetative cover have worsened.
Medical experts have warned that the application of mercury is causing serious medical conditions in illegal mining communities in the Ashanti Region.
A Consultant Pathologist at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), Prof. Paul Ossei Poku Sampene, recently said that studies he undertook in some facilities including the St. Martin’s Hospital at Agroyesum in the Amansie West district revealed complications in pregnancies and child deformities, which were related to contact with mercury and lead used by illegal miners.
State agencies, which are expected to deal with the menace appear powerless.
The general belief is that, with support from the government, Otumfuo will be able to tackle the menace.
The fear amongst the Amansie chiefs has been compounded by the recent destoolment of some chiefs in the Ashanti Region by the Asantehene over various issues.
On May 29, 2023, during a sitting of the Asanteman Council, Otumfuo ordered the destoolment of the Chief of Antoa, Nana Owusu Agyeman after a committee of the Council, chaired by the Asantehene, found the 96-year-old chief guilty of sidestepping the consent and authority of Otumfuo by delegating his position to his nephew.
The chief’s action was deemed a clear violation of customary procedure, compelling His Majesty to order his destoolment.
Then on June 6, 2023, Otumfuo destooled the chief of Kwaso near Ejisu, Nana Nketia Boampong II for allegedly taking a bribe to favour someone for a vacant stool With these developments, chiefs who are complicit in galamsey activities are living in fear, as the belief is that the King could descend on them very soon.