By Alexander Nyarko Yeboah
Tema April 14, GNA - Mr. Bismark Peter Kwofie, President, Institute for Liberty And Policy Innovation (ILAPI), says only a well thought out moral imperative strategy that makes illegal mining unattractive can halt the marauding phenomenon in Ghana.
“The easiest way to solve a problem is to pass a flat law. And after all the laws have been passed, these problems are persisting, so why are the laws not solving the problem,” he asked.
Mr Kwofie made this observation in a lecture held at Harbor City Radio, Tema, to assess the causes and effects of illegal mining activities, otherwise known as galamsey, in Ghana.
Mr. Kwofie admonished Ghanaians to change the way they dealt with problems by considering the moral approach adding, “When making laws, we don’t consider the moral aspects of the law,” he stressed.
This, according to him, is because “most of our politicians are not morally upright people so the laws they enact do not protect the people, their land and their future and their spirit and that is the cause of the problem.”
He said there were no western like laws in the pre-colonial Ghanaian societies but because of the respect for traditional beliefs and cultures, there was harmony between man and nature and that the system was able to fight against practices that were injurious to the environment.
He said the difference between morality and the law is that the law contradicts traditional measures that protect the environment adding, “If there is no cohesion between human activities and the environment, we shall be having problems,” he said.
According to him, “The law, that is, Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 Act 703, states that the land and the minerals are vested in the President which by extension is the state, so if you want anything you must go to the state,”
He further said with this law, politicians were given the power to make policies that protect them in their attempt to exploit the resources for personal their benefit and glory.
Mr Kwofie observed that politicians who were against the “galamsey epidemic” in Ghana are the ones who hailed from constituencies without any galamsey activity.
According to him, “Those who have such activities in their constituencies do not speak truthfully about the subject. This is because they are either involved themselves or compromised in a way.”
He listed a number of people involved in illegal mining which included security men, the clergy, politicians, chiefs, businessmen and women and said the law gave them power because their positions were instituted by law adding that, “They make the law and they are the same people who flout the laws because of its zero moral imperative,” he observed.
Mr. Kwofie said there were 12 governmental agencies and ministries including the Minerals Commission, Environmental Protection Agency, Forestry Commission, Water Resource Commission, in charge of protecting the environment, but they still cannot enforce the law.
He said this inertia, together with poverty, had created an attitude of disregard for the law by citizens who exploit the resource against the health of the land adding, “So why would foreigners not also take advantage of our poor sense or nationhood and environmental security and destroy the land through illegal mining operations.”