Mahama is criticised for pro-galamsey remarks

Speaking Saturday, Mr Mahama asked the government to stop chasing illegal miners with soldiers, noting that the use of the military will not solve the problem.

"It is true that if we don’t do something about it, it will destroy the environment. But we need to apply wisdom," he said Saturday at the NDC's unity walk in Kumasi.

He continued: "Because we’ve chased young people involved in illegal small-scale mining with soldiers in the past in this country but it didn’t work."

"But if we put a blanket ban and send soldiers after the young people, that is not the way to go. As you stop illegal small-scale mining, at the same time you must put in place a livelihood package so that as you are displacing people from illegal mining, they have something to do….But when there is nothing to do but you are just chasing them, shooting them, it is not the way to go."

Many have viewed the ex-president's comments as a major setback to the fight against illegal mining.

Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu, in a Citi News interview decried Mr Mahama's comments but conceded using troops to fight galamsey is not an alternative approach.

"He did that before... we knew the military or combat approach is not an alternative. Yes we are aware and that is why we came out with a comprehensive document," he told Accra-based Citi FM.

Mr Amewu then accused Mr Mahama of failing to comprehensively deal with the menace which was at its peak during his administration.

"He has been a president for four years, he has been a vice-president for a number of years, and what alternative has he put in place?, he quizzed.

"He ruled this country for these number of years at the peak of galamsey. He has not been able to provide a single paper on sanitising the small scale mining and today he mounts a platform and tell Ghanaians [using soldiers is counterproductive]. I am so much disappointed in the former President," he said.

"... he has failed Ghanaians and that is why Ghanaians rejected him as a president. He cannot use galamsey  at this time thinking that this time he will come back to power.."

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