President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s pronouncement on illegal mining captured in the State of the Nation Address delivered to Parliament yesterday has been described as a far departure from his earlier decisive posturing.
The President’s new call for a national conversation on the phenomenon has been tagged as a serious faltering on the part of a leader who, a couple of years ago, was determined to put his presidency on the line in the fight against illegal mining.
Professor Yaw Gyampo, who made the observation in an article, indicated that the disastrous effects of illegal mining on the country’s water bodies and on the sources of human livelihood in the country cannot be quantified.
He warned that the quest to maintain political power should therefore not be enough to make any regime relent in the fight against galamsey.
According to him, though the President’s address was concise, erudite, straightforward and simple, a speech coming just after an election that witnessed some deaths, should have contained some comment about the needless loss of lives.
President Akufo-Addo, he said, should have commiserated with the family of the departed, as well as make a commitment to resolving infractions of the law, with the view to forestalling the recurrence of such unwarranted deaths in any future elections.
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The President’s State of the Nation’s Address (SONA) was concise, erudite, straightforward and simple. He touched virtually on everything from where Ghana was, at the time he was sworn in as President, and what the situation in his view is, now.
I think generally, there’s been some honesty in telling us what has been done and in presenting to us the State of the Nation. I however have a few comments and critiques.
1. It cannot be entirely accurate that there is an abundance of food supply in Ghana. There are serious poultry issues and the price of basic food staples hasn’t gone down. A simple survey of food prices among ordinary Ghanaian respondents will point to this.
2. Also, we cannot talk about our economy doing well without at least admitting the huge debt burden of about 297 billion heaped on the ordinary innocent people of Ghana now and in the future.
3. Moreover, a speech coming just after our election that witnessed some deaths, should have contained some comment about the needless loss of lives, commiseration with the family of the departed, as well as some vow and commitment to resolving infractions of the law, with the view to forestalling the recurrence of such unwarranted deaths in any future elections.
4. We do not need a national conversation about illegal mining. It appears the President sounded wavering in his commitment to fighting galamsey. His comments on this don’t support his earlier decisive posturing of wanting to put his Presidency on the line in the fight against illegal mining. The disastrous effects of illegal mining on our water bodies, and on the very sources of human livelihood in Ghana, are unquantifiable, and the quest to maintain political power, should not be enough to make any regime relent in fighting it.
5. With respect, I think Osei Kyei Mensah may rather be living in a dreamland if he doesn’t learn the rubrics of sounding conciliatory in his utterances and comments in response to “provocations” from Iddrisu Haruna. He must know that per our constitutional arrangement, the Fomena Constituency MP isn’t a member of the NPP, albeit he may choose to vote with them. This, coupled with the unprecedented voter attitude of Ghanaians in ensuring that parliament remains what it is likely to be, in the next few days, should make him approach his overly partisan commentary with some trepidation, going forward. He may want to take a second look at the definition of what a Hung Parliament is. The definition is centered around POLITICAL PARTIES and not Independent candidates.
6. If coming events truly cast their shadows, then, respectfully, Haruna Iddrisu may also want to tone down and manage his emotions in a manner that may help to reduce needless intransigence and stalemates in the next parliament.
7. Finally, if the last SONA cannot be formally debated by Parliament, then it is about time we interrogated its relevance after doing it over and over again. If it is merely to provide parliamentarians with information about what has been done, then we can simply send the speech to the MPs electronically, rather than wasting resources to convene a sitting. We must work to operationalize constitutional imperatives, else the rigid application of rules without contextualizing them will keep ushering thinking human beings, into a regime of robots.
PAV Ansah Street
Suro Nipa House