I write with utmost respect to appeal to the Ashanti Chiefs in the Manhyia Palace to stop attacking Mr. Akwasi Addai, popularly known as “Odike” and instead, deal with the illegal mining activities popularly called “galamsey” in the Ashanti Region. 

In my view, performing rituals to banish the outspoken politician and businessman won’t solve the problem but rather encourage the galamseyers to cause more destructions to the environment, as they will be motivated by the vehement opposition to the truth. The actions from the chiefs may impede progress in the region.

It is an undeniable fact that illegal mining activities are seriously ongoing in most parts of the region and the respective chiefs are aware of the illegalities as well as the impunities in their areas of jurisdictions.

The more damning fact is that the whole Kumasi Traditional Council is aware of the alarming rate of water pollutions and land degradations caused by the galamsey activities in the Asanteman but none of the chiefs has taken any step to fight against the menace. They only talk about the menace without any action. Adding to Odike’s comment, I strongly believe that some of the chiefs are trying to be defensive because they don’t disclose the truth to the overlord, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II.

The fundamental questions are as follows:

  1. Are the Chiefs saying there are no galamsey activities in Ashanti Region?
  2. How do the galamseyers, especially the foreign nationals acquire their lands to begin their operations, if the Chiefs are unaware of their activities?
  3. Why are the chiefs not fighting against the galamsey activities, if they are not involved?
  4. What stops them from opposing the galamsey operations and protecting their towns and villages?
  5. Aren’t the chiefs seeing the heavy machineries like excavators, dozers, graders, chamfines and other small-scale mining equipment every day, entering the forests in the region?
  6. Haven’t the Chiefs seen videos of galamsey activities on Ashanti lands and waterbodies?
  7. Do the Chiefs think the galamseyers are backed by some strong political authorities whose powers supersede theirs? If yes, what prevents them from being courageous and expose those politicians?
  8. What surveillance steps have the Chiefs and Queens in the various mining areas put in place to protect their lands, waterbodies and natural resources?
  9. What gives the locals and foreigners the moral impetus to engage in such illegalities and destructions, if the Chiefs themselves are not accomplices?
  10. How many Chiefs among those who cursed Odike tasked to government to address the galamsey issues?

Following these questions, I challenge the traditional authorities in the Manhyia Palace to stop acting ignorantly and make field trips to some of the mining areas in the Ashanti Region, including Manso Nkwanta, Manso Tontokrom, Manso Adubia, Manso Agroyesum, Manso Nsiana, Esaase Bontefufuo, Tetrem, Jacobu, Adansi Akrokerri, Adumenu, Adansi Akrofuom, Adansi Gyimiso, Adansi Diewuoso, Adansi Aduaneyede, Amamiriwa, Obuasi, Nhyinahini, Atwima Mponua, Konongo, among other towns.

Again, the Chiefs should enter some of the forest reserves in the region, including Manso Forest Reserve in the Amansie South District and Kobro Forest Reserve in the Amansie Central District. After inspecting these areas and grasping the alarming rate of water pollutions and land destructions, the Chiefs will realize that Odike boldly spoke the truth and hence, an unqualified apology should be rendered to him.

Mr. Odike recently made an allegation on a Kumasi-based Oyerepa FM to expose some of the Ashanti Chiefs on their involvements in the illegal mining activities in the region. Also, he called on the Ashanti Youth to rise and stage a massive street protest against the Chiefs. Meanwhile, the overlord of the Ashanti Kingdom, Otumfuor Osei Tutu II made a similar pronouncement during the Regional Consultative Dialogue on Small-Scale Mining held in Kumasi on May 12, 2021.

On delivering the keynote address of the event, the Great King accused about 30% of the Ashanti Chiefs of their involvements in the galamsey activities in their respective jurisdictions. None of these Chiefs who are opposing Odike’s comment with furious reactions came out to challenge Otumfuors accusations on his Chiefs about illegal mining activities.

After Odike’s public comments, some traditional authorities from the Manhyia Palace invoked curses on the outspoken gentleman and declared him persona non grata (an unwelcomed person) at Manhyia. Few days after performing their rituals, some unknown gunmen believed to be sent by some aggrieved Chiefs, attacked the regional office of Odike’s political party, fired gunshots, smashed vehicles and destroyed other properties belonging to Mr. Akwasi Addai.

Nonetheless, the traditional leaders must be clear in their minds that the intimidation tactics and the culture of silence approach that they want to bringing on board cannot dampen the spirits of the enthusiastic youth, who are bent on speaking the truth and demand Asanteman’s progress.

As long as the Chiefs and Queens are our elders, we will continue to respect them and provide the necessary courtesies they deserve but we will not be frightened by their baseless threats. Henceforth, the well-intentioned Ashanti Youth across the world will mobilize and ardently oppose any unpopular and retrogressive decision taken by any Chief or Queen in the region.

The era of fear is over!! We can’t sit unconcerned for some greedy leaders to connive with unpatriotic galamseyers to put current and future generations in danger. Ashanti Region deserves a classic facelift and development. Any attempt by any traditional leader to jeopardize the lives of future generations will be exposed and some of us are determined to fight until the last drop of our blood.

At this point, I would plead with my King, Otumfuor Osei Tutu II to intervene, exclude himself from the barbaric act displayed by his sub-chiefs and instruct them to cleanse Odike as well as lift the useless ban imposed on him. I must be emphatic that none of the Chiefs, including Otumfuor owned the Ashanti lands themselves but they inherited all Ashanti properties from our forefathers.

Our traditional leaders should be cautioned that they have been enstooled to protect the properties that our ancestors left for them and hence, they should do everything possible within their powers to do so accordingly. Currently, I believe our ancestors may be weeping in their graves, considering the level of galamsey destructions on Ashanti lands and waterbodies. 

Finally, I would humbly remind my King and grandpa, Otumfuor Osei Tutu II about his core duty of ensuring that the respective Chiefs in the various districts across the region, represent the interests of the entire Asanteman and not their parochial interests. Going forward, I will suggest that Otumfuor may send genuine and trustworthy people to embark on a tour to some of the aforementioned galamsey areas to investigate how the illegal miners acquire their lands and also implore the respective Chiefs in the areas to justify why they don’t report the galamsey activities to Otumfuor.

The youth of Asanteman remain resolute in our efforts to ensuring that the traditional authorities protect the people, protect our properties and manage the region effectively to improve the infrastructure deficits in the Ashanti Region. If we can’t work incessantly to add value to our heritage, we shouldn’t destroy what we inherited. God bless Asanteman! God bless Ghana!!

Solomon Owusu, PhD

Colorado, USA.