- Posted October 19, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Election 2012: Your stories
Mining communities in Ghana blame politicians for weak mining laws
Residents of mining communities in Ghana are demanding from 2012 presidential and parliamentary candidates, pragmatic policies and programmes to resolve mining related problems in the country.
To avoid being victims of the usual rhetoric of politicians, the residents have catalogued communities concerns into what they call “community manifesto” and are ensuring that the politicians append their signatures to seal the bond of commitment to addressing the issues when voted to power.
The mining communities had early this year called on political parties and independent candidates contesting the 2012 presidential and parliamentary elections to factor into their manifestos and campaign messages, how they intend addressing health and environmental challenges confronting them.
Uncharacteristic of residents of mining communities, appearing to be often demanding their pound of flesh from the mining companies, this time, the residents have turned the heat on politicians, blaming them for their predicaments as a direct result of promulgating weak mining and environmental laws.
They disclosed that the voting pattern of mining communities from 2012 elections and beyond would no longer follow the traditional partisan pattern but would rather be based on a party or candidate whose could present a convincing work plan to address their plight.
The residents made the call at separate sensitization workshops organised in all the mining constituencies in Ghana, by Center for Environmental Impact Analysis (CEIA), Humanity Focus Foundation (HFF) and Gender and Environmental Monitoring and Advocates (GEMA), funded by STAR-Ghana.
The workshops were part of efforts by the consortium of those non-governmental organizations to bring on board politicians, media practitioners, civil servants and residents of mining communities to spearhead a campaign dubbed “Life is more precious than gold: time to talk and act on negative effects of mining on human health, gender, environment and livelihood on electoral campaign platforms for the 2012 presidential and parliamentary elections.”
Participants called on political parties, media commentators and the general public to refrain from the use of hate speeches but rather prioritize mining and environmental issues in the upcoming elections to avoid tendencies that could trigger conflicts.
They entreated politicians to prioritize environmental sustainability in their manifestos and campaign messages, formulate policies to address the negative effects of mining on health of residents of mining communities, commit themselves to a total review of the minerals and mining laws as well as other related environmental laws in the interest of the country.
The residents also charged political parties to undertake comprehensive cost-benefit analysis of surface mining and place premium on land issues for agricultural purposes.