The Commander-In-Chief’s orders have finally been given. The “Stop galamsey now” order has reached the platoon and section tiers as the President makes good his promise to stamp out galamsey. It is a furtherance of his bid to protect the environment from further degradation and we appreciate the gesture whose dividends have been translated in the changing qualities of our rivers.
The deployment of troops is the most ambitious action yet to stop the illegal mining activities of some Ghanaians in cohort with foreigners.
It is an action unlike others which were merely paying lip-service and making a laughing-stock of those pretending to be fighting the illegality in the country even as the environment continued to lose its quality and the water bodies becoming muddier by the day.
President Akufo-Addo must be commended for going this far at a time when all manner of threats have been issued from the beneficiaries of the illegality.
We are in a state of war with not only our compatriots who are so glued to the galamsey business that they are ready to do everything to protect their turfs but sophisticated foreigners protecting the technical muscles.
Some of them were so associated with top government officials in the previous political establishment that they think pulling the strings is still helpful.
The war against galamsey demands the cooperation of all Ghanaians who have the interest of their country at heart. There is no option of sitting on the fence in this duel as the fate of the country is what is at stake.
To the troops who have been so deployed they should consider themselves as frontline soldiers in this unusual war to protect the future of our country. Although we have not heard about a “shoot to kill” order, there are possibilities of fire fights because some galamsey operatives are armed and could pull the trigger in their bids to outdo the troops. Let the soldiers be professional in their engagements even as they must protect themselves against aggressive and irresponsible adventurers.
The murder of Major Mahama is still fresh in the memories of Ghanaians. He had been deployed on a mission to protect the environment but died in the line of duty.
We have heard about the threats of so-called concerned persons who have vowed to fight the soldiers to protect their turfs. We pray they do not dare.
It is pitiful that there are still persons who do not appreciate the importance of protecting our environment even when the effects of illegal mining activities are staring us in the face.
We lack the capacity to give direct orders to the soldiers but can plead with those who can do so to ask that they deal ruthlessly with those who stand in their way as they put their lives on the line to protect our environment and therefore the future of this country.
We pray for them as they perform this all-important state assignment in the dark segments of the rainforest and other theatres of illegal mining.