Cooler heads must prevail in this matter

ON Friday, May 5, 2017 a seemingly worrying report was posted on about a threat by the chiefs and people of Akwapim Mampong in the Akwapim South District of the Eastern Region to cut down all cocoa trees in the area and venture into illegal mining, popularly known as Galamsey.

THE cocoa trees to be destroyed, according to the Adukrohene of Akwapim Mampong, Nana Ayeh Kofi Kwaasi, include those in the preserved Tetteh Quarshie farms and the ones in the Jubilee Fields.

EARLIER, listening to Nana Ayeh Kofi Kwaasi on Adom FM’s morning show, Dwaso Nsem, via a telephone interview on the said Friday morning, he threatened thus: “We would cut down all the cocoa trees in Mampong, all cocoa farms would be destroyed including the ones that are in the Jubilee Fields and the ones planted by Tetteh Quarshie…”

THIS threat, the Adukrohene of Mampong disclosed, will be carried out on Thursday, May 11, 2017, following which he added the chiefs will encourage the youth in the town to go into Galamsey.

YES, we would use our land for Galamsey because we have gold and our chiefs and the youth have all agreed for that to happen…Galamsey has instant results and that is what we would go into because we would all have some gold for development…,” the Adukrohene further warned.

THE reason behind this impending action by the chiefs and people of Mampong is that they are not benefitting from the growing of cocoa in the town.  The chief buttressed his point by stating that since 1859 when Tetteh Quarshie brought cocoa to Mampong and Ghana, the town can only boast of the Tetteh Quarshie Government Hospital and the road that leads to the town.

BUT reacting to the chiefs and people of Mampong, the Board Chairman of COCOBOD, Mr. Hackman Owusu-Agyemang, pleaded with them to exercise restraint, assuring that when the Chief Executive of COCOBOD returns from a trip in Ivory Coast, they will sit down with them and address their grievances.

THOUGH Today shares in the frustration of the chiefs and people of Mampong, we do not believe that the way forward to addressing their concerns is for them to resort to the cutting down of cocoa trees and also go a step further to encourage the youth in the area to go into Galamsey.  Those actions, if carried out, will cost this country hugely.  Not only is cocoa critical to our economy, engaging in Galamsey, a menace that is already having a big toll on our environment and water bodies.

AS the chiefs of Mampong would know, Galamsey is an illegal activity and for now, whoever engages in it must be prepared to face the consequences of the law.  Engagement in Galamsey or calling for it is tantamount to undermining the nationwide crusade against stopping ‘Galamsey now’ which is by and large yielding some positive dividends.

TODAY thus seizes this opportunity to plead with the chiefs and people of Mampong to allow cooler heads to prevail.  We are of the hope that the Board of COCOBOD will take up the threat of the chiefs and discuss it passionately to ensure that the matter is resolved amicably.

DEFINITELY, Ghana will be the biggest loser if cocoa trees in Mampong are cut down and to add salt to injuries, get the youth of the area to venture into an illegality like Galamsey.  No, Ghana does not deserve such a slap from a section of our traditional leaders.

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