Scores of small-scale miners in the eight regions of the country have given the strongest indication that they will vote massively against President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the 2020 general election.
Their decision to vote against the Akufo-Addo-led NPP government is informed by what they describe as the unfair treatment being meted out to them by the ruling party.
According to them, small-scale mining has been a part of their daily life “serving as a company” employing both skilled and unskilled youth in the country.
They questioned the government’s decision to halt small-scale and also galamsey when there had not been any alternative livelihood programmes to absorb the thousands of people involved in these practices.
They warned that successive governments that had over the years attempted to stop their operations had often been voted out of office.
Speaking in an interview with Today at the weekend, the Ashanti Regional Chairman of Small-Scale Miners Association, Mr Frank Osei, explained that the actions and inactions of President Akufo-Addo and his NPP government have collapsed their businesses and as such, they will “show President Akufo-Addo and his party where power lies, come 2020.
“We wish today is the day of going to vote for the 2020 general election so that we would go and vote against President Akufo-Addo for the fight against small-scale mining and galamsey,”
According to him, small-scale illegal miners had stated that the President and his government had not considered their plans before destroying their businesses.
He lamented that the attempt by the government to disrupt their activities had sent them into poverty because they depend on mining.
Many of affected miners who spoke to Today said: “we have sat at home for almost sixteen good months not doing anything, our government is in power but they have stopped our activities which is the main source of our livelihoods, so we have also decided to vote against the NPP in 2020 to teach the party a lesson. Because since they have stopped us, what it means is that we would also punish them by voting against them in 2018,” they warned.
Meanwhile, some of the miners in Tarkwa-Breman in the Prestea Huni-Valley have vowed to vote against their Member of Parliament (MP), Madam Barbara Oteng Gyasi, in the next general election, for waging war against their activities.
Notwithstanding these threats, the President remains resolute in his fight against illegal mining.
Speaking at Soabe in the Eastern Region, the President said he is unfazed by these threats. “I haven’t said that I am going to stop mining. Mining has been done for decades in this country by several generations. I am only saying that I am against those mining without legal backing. Illegal mining that is what I am against.
“Today, Kyebi, Abirem, it’s a sad sight to behold. Mining along the water bodies cannot continue if we want to preserve nature and our system. I have been told some of the people engaged in illegal mining, have threatened to vote against the NPP in 2020 if I crack the whip on the culprits. I am more concerned about fulfilling God’s purpose and devising measures to propel the nation’s development. That’s my focus and not election-related issues.”
“Things we must do to propel development are the things I am concerned about. Our forefathers left us the natural resources, if we can’t protect them then we should leave them for future generations” the said.
Mr. Akufo-Addo noted that galamsey has destroyed several water bodies resulting in their drying up.