Before the elections, indeed, even before 2012 controversial one, there was enough evidence that the government had relaxed its regulatory and monitoring mandate in several sectors, particularly in the banking and mining sectors.
Galamsey, or illegal [informal sector] mining, had gotten to deplorable levels. At that point, we must admit, only a revolution in attitude and action was what was needed to address the insanity levels in our mining communities which were resulting in the degradation of our water bodies and forests being razed to the ground in the madcap search for gold by demented youth.
Little wonder, Ghana under then-President John Dramani Mahama, scored woeful in agriculture and tourism as we experienced the spectre of massive hectares of arable land lost to mining – with threats to human life and health as well as wildlife, culminating in billions of cedis in revenue that should have accrued to the tourism sector.
Evidently, political leadership at the level, particularly of Ministers and MMDCEs – because they feared the political consequences – decided to look the other way.
Banking sector ills and reform
That same negative attitude had waxed horrible in their performance contract with the ordinary citizen in the banking sector where government, its agencies, and appointees in the banking sector ignored basic banking tenets and abused customers’ deposits.
The result as we were to experience, was a near-collapse of the sector as citizens began to resort to panic withdrawals, following a lawful decision on the part of the new, incumbent Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo government to rectify the situation for the mutual benefit of state and non-state actors.
Unfortunately, instead of blaming the errant directors of the collapsed banks land ailing financial institutions, the depositors slammed the government for their woes, after electing to believe in the lying Mahama appointees instead of the well-intentioned moves by the government to intervene and ensure that depositors have back their monies.
Interestingly, it was in these same communities where the government was initiating vibrant livelihoods programmes in agriculture that the inept Mahama administration found fertile grounds to plan their propaganda that saw the government suffering electoral shock waves in the 2020 elections.
This was despite the fact that initiatives like the Free SHS, Planting for Food and Jobs, Planting for Export, and Youth in Entrepreneurship were targeted at employable populations in such communities.
Sinking and swimming together
As the President soldiers on in his vision to restore of ecology and lawfully rake revenue from our natural resources, while maintaining the sanctity of our heritage, it is the opinion of the Daily Statesman that youth in mining communities will do themselves some good putting Ghana, instead of their stomachs first.
The demented philosophy of razing down our forests and degrading our water bodies for small cash to purchase Okada and taxies must give way to an enduring culture in which we keep our forests and rivers fresh and vibrant, while we grow our agriculture and develop win-win systems for formalizing the informal mining sector.
Elections, we must understand, are not about the license from the state to the citizen to rape public resources; indeed, they have everything to do with laws that protect public and communal interests, while having in mind ways and means for collectively developing a vibrant future for the next generation.
That is why youth in mining communities need to rethink their roles as citizens and how they want them and their kids to see the Ghana that we collectively desire.