Tuesday, 8 August 2017
Galamsey is ‘prospective genocide’ – Cameron Duodu
Veteran journalist, Cameron Duodu, has described illegal mining commonly known as ‘galamsey’ as “prospective genocide” which is endangering the lives of future generations.
Mr. Duodu recalled that in the olden days, “although our ancestors engaged in galamsey activities, they did so without polluting water bodies and destroying farm lands”.
“These galamsey people say they want to make a living, but our ancestors dug gold so much that this place was called the Gold Coast! But they didn’t ruin any rivers while doing that. They loved their rivers!” he told the host of The Lounge, Kwaku Sakyi-Addo.
According to him, our ancestors highly respected water bodies and thus, treated them as human beings.
He explained saying, “Our ancestors were so clever; they treated the rivers like people. Birem has a name – her name is Birem Abenaa — Female born on Tuesday. On Tuesdays, nobody is allowed to go and work on a farm near the Birem and you can’t cross it; not on Tuesdays. Natural common sense told them to allow the river time to regenerate itself. So, it was left alone one day a week! And that was enough to keep it alive, till our generation came to find and use it!” Mr Duodu said. “In gratitude to our wise ancestors, we the super-wise, are destroying the river — in search of gold! What will OUR DESCENDANTS DRINK?” he asked rhetorically.
Mr Duodu pointed out that Tano in Ashanti is called Tano Kronkron – pure, pure Tano. “They don’t allow women to cross it at all, in case they [the women] are in their menses and might drop something in it to pollute it! That was the measure of their respect for the River Tano!.”
Mr. Duodu who is also an author and African affairs specialist, expressed utter disgust at the fact that Ghanaians were willing to destroy water bodies gifted to them by nature, while other nations are struggling to find natural water.
“What kind of people are we? We have no respect for water…[Libyan leader Muammar] Gaddafi was digging for water from underground water-tables to bring it out for use in irrigation. If you go to Saudi Arabia, they spend billions desalinating sea-water to make it useful. We sit here, nature gave us the rivers and in our greed for gold, we are just destroying them…and when the President says he will stop it, you say you won’t vote for him,” he remarked.
He commended President Nana Akufo-Addo for the efforts being made to clamp down on the practice and for refusing to give in to threats of being voted against in the next election.
“The Government is right in sending the army after the galamsey criminals. By now, they’ve destroyed so much that even if they are stopped, trying to undo what they have done will cost millions. But we have to do it. The people who want to earn a living through galamsey do not own the rivers, they didn’t make the water; they came to find it there and they have no right to destroy it for our unborn children to have no water when it is their turn to exist in the country,” Mr Duodu added.
He advised galamsey operators to “earn a living but earn a living in a legal and decent manner. Murder, armed robbery and rae can also enabe people to earn a living. But which civilised society allows that? You cannot destroy the lives of unborn children in order to make a living today. You just don’t have that right — to carry out prospective genocide!”
The Lounge with Kwaku Sakyi-Addo aired live on Starr FM. The programme goes out every Friday from 7pm to 8pm and on GHOne TV on Sundays from 8pm to 9pm.