Press spotlights Mahama’s assertion that President lacks political will to fight illegal mining, others

APA – Accra (Ghana)

The assertion by former President John Mahama that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo lacks the political will to fight illegal mining activities (galamsey) in Ghana is one of the leading stories in the Ghanaian Times on Tuesday.

The Graphic reports that former President John Mahama says that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo lacks the political will to fight illegal mining activities (galamsey) in Ghana.

According to Mr Mahama, if President Akufo-Addo were in another jurisdiction he would have resigned over the failed galamsey fight because he put his Presidency on the line on the matter in 2017.

Speaking in a television interview with TV3 on Monday, Mr Mahama said members of the New Patriotic Party including District Chief Executives and other party executives were the persons engaged in the government's Community Mining programme devastating forest reserves, hence the President could not win the fight.

“If you go to the districts they talk about community mining. Community mining is the NPP executives and the DCEs, who are doing the community mining," Mr Mahama said.

“So, they are the ones doing what they are doing, so how can you expect him to fight galamsey when his own people are the ones who are doing it.”

It will be recalled that in 2017, President Akufo-Addo served notice that he was prepared to put his Presidency on the line in his quest to fight illegal mining.

He said many people had said he needed to proceed cautiously, since the people involved were the same people who had voted him into power, and that should he take such a decision against them, they would not vote for him in the next election.

Addressing a two-day workshop on galamsey for traditional leaders drawn from different parts of the country, the President had said: “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.”

But Mr Mahama believes after such a pledge and given the state of affairs now in the fight against illegal mining, if President Akufo-Addo was in another jurisdiction, he would have simply resigned.

The newspaper says that farmers operating along the downstream areas of the White and the Black Volta rivers are bearing the brunt of the spillage of excess water from the Bagre and the Kompienga dams in Burkina Faso, as hundreds of hectares of farmland have been submerged by floodwaters.

No life has been lost, but rice, millet and sorghum farms have been completely wiped out and affected farmers are at their wits’ end as to what to do.

The situation, which has affected a number of communities in the Mamprugu/Moaduri District and the West Mamprusi municipality in the North East Region, has been compounded by torrential rains.

When the Daily Graphic visited some of the affected areas last Saturday, it saw that farmlands in the low land areas were all submerged.

At Kpasenkpe in the West Mamprusi municipality, the situation appeared to be more devastating as about 100 acres of farmland had already been destroyed.

A farmer, Alhassan Sumani, whose 15-acre farm had been affected, said he could not salvage the crops.

"I am just devastated because the farm which has been destroyed is the only source of livelihood for the family. Now, I don't know what to do because all my investment has gone waste," he said.

Another farmer, John Sibiri, whose story was not different, appealed to the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) and benevolent organisations to go to their aid to help alleviate their plight.

The Ghanaian Times reports that the number of people living in slums increased from 5.5 million in 2017 to 8.8 million in 2020, Ghana’s 2022 Voluntary National Review(VNR) Report on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) implementation, has revealed.

The figure represents an increase of about 60 per cent, according to the report which was compiled and published by the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC).

The United Nations (UN) Programme on Human Settlements defines a slum as “a contiguous settlement where the inhabitants are characterised as having inadequate housing and basic services.”

It states that such inhabitants suffer one or more ‘household deprivations’ such as lack of access to improved water sources; improved sanitation facilities; sufficient living areas; housing durability and security of tenure.

According to the report, there are about 23 slums in Ghana with 11 in Greater Accra Region. It listed predominant areas where the urban population live in slums as Accra, Tema-Ashaiman, Kumasi, Tamale and Takoradi.

Ghana’s SDGs National Coordinator and Chief Analyst at the NDPC’s Development Policy Division, Dr Richard Bofah, gave highlights of the report at a regional dissemination workshop on Friday.

The workshop afforded participants including Development Planning Officers, representatives of youth, children, women groups and persons with disabilities an opportunity to discuss Ghana’s second SDGs VNR report which was launched at the national level last month.

The document, presented at the UN High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) in July this year, showcased the country’s successes, challenges and lessons learnt in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The issue of slums falls under SDG Goal 11 entitled “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.”

Target 11.3 states, “By 2030, enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanisation and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries.”

According to the report, despite the increasing number of people in slums, slum dwellers proportion of the country’s population declined from 39.3 per cent in 2017 to 28.2 per cent in 2020.

Commenting on progress made by the country to achieve the SDGs, Dr Bofah said,  the country was making headway, but more needed to be done with support from all stakeholders to meet the 2030 deadline.

The newspaper says that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has re-asserted his determination to build the National Cathedral.

He said the National Cathedral project was something dear to his government, stressing that it would be built at all cost to the glory and honour of God.

The President made the statement when he joined the family and other mourners at Dr Joseph Siaw Agyepong’s late father’s Thanksgiving Service on Sunday at the Pentecost International Worship Centre (PIWC), Graceland, Teshie Nungua in Accra.

While commiserating with Dr Agyepong and his family for their loss during this difficult moment, the President encouraged him to take consolation in the fact that his late father gave birth to him to affect lives positively.

“In fact, the name Dr Agyepong has been lost on Ghanaians. Now Zoomlion has become his (Dr. Agyepong’s) household name, all thanks to his entrepreneurial skills and his passion to help transform lives in the country,” he said in praise of Dr Siaw Agyepong.

According to President Akufo-Addo, his government would continue to support Dr Siaw Agyepong and his JGC and any other private person who was ready to support Ghana’s development efforts.

“My administration will continue to create the enabling environment for private businesses to thrive so they can support the government in its development agenda,” he emphasised.

On the economic condition in the country, he said “although the economic hardships are having a toll on Ghanaians, I am very optimistic that things will get better”, adding that “these challenges too will pass”.

He implored Ghanaians to always foster unity to bring about peace and development.

Earlier, the Director of Pentecost Men’s Ministry (PEMEM) and Executive Council Member of the Church of Pentecost, Reverend Vincent Anane Denteh, who preached the sermon, charged Christians and Ghanaians in general to carry the burdens of one another.

“Carrying someone’s burden is not easy as it is laden with challenges but doing that fulfils the law of Christ,” he said.

For his part, Dr Siaw Agyepong, on behalf of his family, used the opportunity to thank God for His mercies and favour upon the Agyepong family and particularly President Akufo-Addo, who he described as a “very good” President and all those who have mourned with them throughout the period.


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