Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Prof. Nana Aba Appiah Amfo has noted that the use of the slogan ‘Fight against Galamsey’ is a wrong approach in finding real solutions to illegal mining (galamsey) in Ghana.
According to her, the word ‘fight’ has strong meaning, making illegal miners find ways to continue carrying out their activities. Her perspective marks a shift in strategy towards a more inclusive and sustainable solution to illegal mining activities in Ghana.
The Vice-Chancellor made these remarks while speaking as the Chairperson of the 6th Biennial Public Lecture by the College of Health Sciences of the University of Ghana on the theme, ‘Environmental and Health Impact of Galamsey: The Real Cost of That Gold’.
“I was glad, particularly for one thing, that in the discussion and the lectures that they gave and even the contributions from the audience, I’ve not heard talks about a fight [against] galamsey because I think it is a wrong approach. As a linguist, words are very important for me. The words that we use when talking about crises communication, the vocabulary we choose is very important.”
“If I am there and you tell me you are coming to fight me, what do you think I will do. Of course I will prepare myself for a fight. I’m not going to sit and just allow you to come and fight. So I do believe it’s a wrong approach, that’s why we keep fighting galamsey all these years but we have not succeeded.”
She called on stakeholders and institutions for collaborative efforts with people in mining communities. This she believes will foster understanding and education to help solve illegal mining menace.
“Collaborations is what we need. We need to get closer to the community members and first of all understand what is going on and let them know that there are solutions for them. We need to go, appreciate what is going on and then that forms a basis of education and really, that is what I would like to sees as being an engaged university.”
She further highlighted that alternative sources of livelihood such as agriculture should be made attractive so that the people in mining communities will consider them rather than engaging in illegal mining.
“If we want to find real solutions to this, we need to thoroughly discuss alternative sources of livelihood. Look, when you want to take somebody’s livelihood from them, it’s not an easy matter. So it has to be properly thought through, discussed and planned. And there is the need to make other options attractive. We need to make agriculture attractive, we need to make tourism viable. At least it’s safer option while we work on the minimizing the use of mercury getting to our water bodies and fishes through galamsey.”
Story by: John Collins Kaledzie | univers.ug.edu.gh