The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II has said traditional leaders should take part of the blame for the activities of illegal miners in their jurisdictions.
He said even though the government does not involve them in the granting of leases to mining companies whether legal or illegal, they [chiefs] cannot claim they are not aware of the activities of the miners and their effects on water bodies and farming in their various areas.
He said if they claim not to be complicit in the activities of illegal miners, what have they been doing, noticing the harm being caused to the environment and the destruction to water bodies.
Addressing members of the Ashanti Regional House of Chiefs at the first meeting of the year on Friday (October 14, 2022), Otumfuo Osei Tutu II told the chiefs that when they come across the harm being done to the environment, the least they can do is to report to the police or the Manhyia Palace.
He said their [chiefs] inaction was an indication that they were accomplices and were benefiting from the act.
He warned that if as traditional leaders they do not sit up, prosperity would not forgive them.
‘Arresting wrong people’
So far, he said the wrong people involved in the destruction of the environment were being targeted and arrested by the security agencies while the real culprits were walking free.
According to him, those being arrested at the mining sites were not the real culprits but people who were just trying to earn a living by offering their skills and labour. That, he said does not mean that, they should not be arrested for flouting the law.
But he questioned, if those arrested soaked in mud have the wherewithal to acquire concessions and buy excavators to engage in such activity.
The Asantehene said those the government and the security agencies should be arresting were the financiers who employed those labourers and not the workers. [ATTACHED BELOW IS VIDEO OF THE ASANTEHENE ADDRESSING THE MEETING]
Leave mere ‘labourers’ and arrest illegal mining financiers to correct errors in galamsey fight – Asantehene https://t.co/Te1Tmh5lTE pic.twitter.com/7Z0qc45nnH
— GraphicOnline (@Graphicgh) October 15, 2022
Stool land revenue
Commenting on a presentation by the Stool Lands Administrator, Maame Ama Edumadze-Acquah, on the distribution of the revenue from ground rents, the Asantehene proposed that a committee of tripartite committee of traditional leaders, District Chief Executives and Office of the Stool Land Administration be formed to agree on the projects the district assembly share should be used for.
According to the chiefs, although the lion share of the revenue is given to the district assemblies, there is very little the district assemblies have to show for it.
The chiefs said even though the revenue was from the land that they hold in trust for the people, the DCEs do not account to them on what they used the money for.
In the presentation, Maame Edumadze-Acquah explained that 10 per cent of the revenue collected from ground rent is used for administrative purposes while 55 per cent of the 90 per cent is given to the district assemblies for developmental projects.
The rest, she explained is shared between the traditional councils and the chiefs.
She admitted some district assemblies use part of the revenue for recurrent expenditure but said most of them use it for developmental projects.
The challenge, however, she explained was the fact that the district assemblies do not mark the projects to be funded from the Stool Lands Revenue.
Going forward, she said the assemblies would be encouraged to clearly mark the projects as funded from their share of the Stool Land Revenue to enable the citizens know what their money is being used for.