Amidst the fervent public calls for an end to illegal mining activities, there have been allegations against leaders of the country failing to lead the fight against galamsey.
Beyond the accusation of failure have been allegations of some leaders being active participants in the menace.
Some critics say the complicity of the political class and the traditional leadership is a major contributor to the thriving of galamsey.
On the back of this allegation, members of the political class and the traditional leadership have sought to recuse themselves from any blame in the failure of the fight against galamsey.
Beyond the denial, national leaders on both divide have also sought to blame each other for the menace.
The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II who is arguably one of the most powerful traditional leaders in the country has recently refused the blame on chiefs.
Speaking to a delegation from the US Embassy to Ghana at his Manhyia Palace last week, the Asantehene blamed the political leadership of Ghana for failing to tackle galamsey.
“At the district level, we have the political administration – the district chief executive and the security council. Are they all saying that they are unaware of the activities of these galamseyers?” Otumfuo questioned the delegation led by the new U.S. ambassador to Ghana Virginia Palmer.
“If they are unable to detect and stop the operation of these galamseyers then they are unworthy to be there, it is as simple as that,” the revered king added.
However, despite the position by Otumfuo which he has reiterated over time, the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor seems to have a differing view when it comes to the role of chiefs in the battle against galamsey.
According to the minister, the blame is rather to be shared without the exclusion of the traditional leaders.
He notes that the galamsey fight continues to fail despite various efforts by the central government.
In the view of the minister, traditional leaders cannot absolve themselves of the blame.
“I come from a palace and I can say without a shred of equivocation that in most cases, no one, and I repeat, no one can bring a chain saw to harvest in the forest or an excavator to mine in the bush or chanfang to work on a river body in a community without the knowledge, acquiescence or passive approval somehow of the Chief, elders, the assemblymen, opinion leaders and or local authorities in the community.
“We have to begin to be blunt about this situation on our hands. It is the honest truth and, sadly for me, I am having to say it and do so publicly. Ladies and gentlemen, you may have heard that on Thursday 29th September 2022 on behalf of the president of the republic, I paid a working visit to our men and women in uniform–the operation halt two team in Manso Datano in the Amansie South District.”
“I was shocked by what I saw. Almost a whole community has been created in the heart of the forest with poultry and goat rearing, beds, a kitchen, and bathrooms among others. The devastation must have been occasioned by years, if not decades of destruction. The question I ask is, how could this have happened on the blind side of the Chief, elders, assemblymen, unit committee members, district police commander, district chief executive, district officers of the minerals commission, forestry commission, environmental protection agency and the members of the community?
“I do not seem to tarnish the reputation of any person or institution, but I dare say that even regional authorities may not be able to escape from this particular situation and feign ignorance of it,” the minister said during the 40th Anniversary celebration of the faculty of renewable natural resources at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.
However, the Asantehene and other chiefs have suggested that they have little to no power in the fight against galamsey.