The Founding fathers changed the name from Gold Coast to Ghana. Undoubtedly, Ghana is awash with gold. This gold belongs to the people, whose land it is and who toil day and night to build this Republic.
Recently as recent as 20 years ago, Australians, Americans in the Gold Coast, now Ghana as part of an elaborate scheme called privatisation. Rawlings, Kwesi Botchway and their brand of the PNDC privatised everything except our lives. These foreigners were accepted as we did in the colonial era and pre- colonial eras. We were told it is the era of globalisation. Now we have one huge problem.
The problems associated with Galamsey are not the Ghanaian youths as some sections of the media would have us believe. It is their birth right. It is those foreigners for whom making a quick buck is what concerns them that we should be worried about. They mine the gold, transfer it abroad and refine it whilst abroad. Now that Ghanaian youth, who have been unemployed and are employable want a piece of the action. We are up in arms, calling them all kinds of names. We have forgotten the foreigners who stated the gold race in the first place.
The hullabaloo against the youth in the galamsey trade especially in the days following the horrific murder of Major Maxwell Mahama in Denkyira-Obuasi, is also not helpful. We might end up criminalising a whole generation with our lynch mob mentality.
The solution is simple.To expect Ghanaian youth to go home whilst foreigners with political connections continue to dig gold is not fair. We need an approach that takes a holistic. Let us put a stop to all gold mining. There are those who will argue that we need the foreign exchange. But how much do we get from the multi nationals? In fact there is ample evidence that Ghana benefits more from galamsey youth than the multinationals in the gold trade. Suspend all activity in the gold mining areas. Mobilise the youth into cooperatives, train and support them in environmentally friendly way of carrying out galamsey. Start a rigorous tax system which targets the multinationals and foreign gold firms. When these systems are in place and are rigorously enforced, then can we open up our gold mines for exploration?
If the system is left as it is, more tragedy awaits Ghana. We cannot afford a confrontation between the security forces and unemployed youth driven away from the mines. We cannot also assume that our politicians and bureaucrats will end this menace in an acceptable manner. The NPP government which inherited this mess has a herculean task. Something can and should be done and fast. It is time for a Commission on Ghana’s gold.