On the videotape that allegedly went viral on social media, the Minister of the Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, is heard talking to another operative of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) about the need for the party to raise funds, presumably, by having party operatives actively participate in small-scale mining. Now, Dear Reader, don’t get me wrong, I am not sufficiently naïve to either suppose or believe that the operatives of the ruling New Patriotic Party are any significantly different, in terms of their penchant and/or capacity for indulging in corrupt and scandalous activities of the sort captured on the videoclip, at least the version that was embedded in the Ghanaweb.com news article referenced above.
What is clearly lacking here is full or adequate context. You see, in the version that I recently came across and, in fact, took a few minutes to watch and listened to, we, the audience of listeners and viewers, do not see the footage or picture of Prof. Frimpong-Boateng; so we do not even know whether the voice captured on audiotape purported to be his is authentically that of the Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister. And if his voice cannot be authentically or convincingly linked to his picture, then chances are that the audiotaped voice may very well be that of a sound-alike impersonator, in which case Prof. Frimpong-Boateng may promptly deserve the unqualified apology and public retraction of whoever put that viral tape on social media.
I am equally not surprised, by the way, because even as I have had occasion to highlight in many of my columns times without number, there are far too many more internal detractors and party wreckers actively at work for me or anybody else, for that matter, to be cheaply or facilely tempted to impute this patent act of criminal mischief to any National Democratic Congress-sponsored operative or operatives. It is clearly an inside job, but it may only be telling half of the story. Yes, there is clear evidence that some operatives, even key operatives, of the desperately megalomaniacal main opposition National Democratic Congress may be at work here. And the Mahama/Asiedu-Nketia Posse has every reason to have put up this strategically diversionary gimmickry, coming closely on the heels of the breaking-news scandal of the bribery racket involving some yet-to-be-named top members of the National Democratic Congress.
But, of course, there is equally the authentic and convincing hint of some involvement or at least the condonement of illegal gold mining, or Galamsey, involving some operatives of the New Patriotic Party, or on the part of those who ought to be fiercely fighting to make this number one environment destroyer a relic of the past. Overall, however, I squarely fault the rather strange, unwise and premature decision by the government to lift the peremptory and salutary prohibition of small-scale mining activities, Galamsey or non-Galamsey. For, one does not need a doctoral degree in cardiothoracic medicine or surgical science to perspicuously draw the all-too-savvy conclusion about the virtual impossibility of being able to effectively differentiate between one type of small-scale mining and another, which is clearly what seems to be going on here.
I vividly recall writing several times, in this very column, that the savviest and environmentally positive means of putting a definitive halt to the Galamsey menace was to impose an effective ban or total prohibition on this predatory practice for at least a decade. And then, somehow, some Galamsey-invested foreign interests managed to convince the government somewhere amidst our vehement campaign for the total prohibition of small-scale mining that the latter was a universally sanctioned, or approved, practice which needed to be encouraged albeit studiously policed. I strongly suspect that it was this half-hearted approach to an otherwise incontrovertibly savvy environment-reclaiming policy agenda that got us into the present seemingly intractable mess. There definitely must be a constructive way out of here; I just don’t see how, without the immediate total imposition of another ban and a massive clampdown.
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