The Ghana Institute of Governance and Security (GIGS), a governance think tank, says the fight against illegal mining in Ghana can only be done effectively by employing Appropriate Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms to get all parties involved.
According to GIGS, there is the need for a well fashioned diplomacy in getting out foreigners, notably the Chinese who have been actively engaging in the illegal mining, popularly known as galamsey.
A recent Media Coalition Against Galamsey campaign has triggered a national revolt against the menace, leading to the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, placing an embargo on small scale mining.
The public anger has been directed at politicians and foreigners, particularly the Chinese, who are largely involved in or funding the operations of the illegal miners, leading to the destruction of many water bodies and farm lands across the country.
In an attempt to correct the wrong impression on the international front about the anti-galamsey campaign, President, Akufo-Addo, said in Accra last week that the government’s avowed determination to clamp down on illegal mining activities in the country is not akin to xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals but a national commitment to protect the integrity of the environment.
“We are not against Chinese or any other citizens, but what we are all seeking is to protect the integrity of our environment to secure a better future for the unborn generation,” the President submitted.
But David Agbee, Executive Director of GIGS, said that xenophobic impression could have been avoided if ADR related diplomacy was used by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to secure the active support and involvement of the Chinese Embassy in Accra, in the campaign.
He said although it is good the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources has actively engaged in getting the laws against illegal mining enforced, more results could be achieved if a diplomatic arrangement is fashioned out for the campaign.
Through such arrangement, the Chinese Embassy and the Chinese miners would appreciate the essence of the campaign and recognize the need to pull out to halt further devastation of the environment that continue to threaten the livelihoods and future of farming communities.
“The Foreign Affairs Minister could have invited the Chinese Ambassador on a tour of the galamsey areas for the Embassy to note the actual level of devastation, so that it can in turn educate the Chinese residents in Ghana against the practice.
Through such a diplomatic tour, “the Chinese and the international community will know that we are not exaggerating.”
“These Chinese miners do not understand our freedom and our laws, so there should be both law enforcement and education in the campaign to conscientize the Chinese miners to respect our laws,” he said.
By Adotey Mingle