Now the Grace Period is Over; What Next? Let’s Critical Assess

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 …Commercial Charcoal Burning and Rosewood Harvesting In Gonjaland in Perspective

And finally….And verily, the historic moment is here.Let all hail Yagbonwura Tuntumba Bore Essa 1, kind and president of Gonja Traditional Council for taking a free-swinging step in placing a ban on Logging and Commercial Charcoal Burning in the Gonja Traditional Area.

It’s well to state that the good people of gonjaland and beyond have long awaited this refreshing earth-shattering moment-news.But the news in my view would have been more refreshing if it had come earlier than this. Infact, when I first received the news, out of my thousands and millions of imagination,the first thing that came to mind was, ‘so we had the power all along’? Well, it may be late but necessary. Let it not be said that it wasn’t necessary. Let it be said that it’s always better even if, it comes late than never. We take solace in this mere fact. At least, our elders will have us believe that what the goats have eaten, we let go. It’s what is left that we must protect. Hence, we are not at all flogging a dead horse. We are only trying to protect what is left.

But it’s or should be said that in trying to protect what is left, it’s legitimate we probe the issues further….
To start with, it’s a matter of record that this is not the first time such bans have been issued. Indeed, such bans are beginning to sound like music in our ears, especially, if coming from our assemblies(Specifically: refer to the West Gonja District Assembly letter declaring as illegal the activities of rosewood and commercial charcoal burning, effective Wednesday, 27th April, 2016). Suffice it however, to put on record that this is the first time such a ban is issued from the authority of the traditional council. (The custodians of our land). So are we going to see any difference in the use of power? Or it’s just another late display of public gimmickry or a cause without effect!

Indeed,in the letter banning the aforementioned activities,the overload has employed the services of all paramount chiefs,the district assemblies,law enforcement agencies and the various DISEC’s in the Gonja Traditional Area to start implementing the decision of the council effective the 23rd May, 2017, grace period. So are we to take it that the aforementioned are the stakeholders to enforce the decision of the council? And when the decision of the council fails to see the light of the day, it should be taken to mean these people have collectively failed us as a people? Can we hold them accountable if they stall in implementing, effectively the decision of the council to secure our future this time around? We are asking because our testacles have ever been stamped on, not once but twice.So it’s a cue we are taking from history to avoid mystery or misery.

It’s refreshing to note that the DCE of West Gonja District Assembly, Hon. Saeed Muazu Jibiril has taken the lead in constituting an independent taskforce of various stakeholders removed from traditional,political and other interference to effectively implement the ban in West Gonja District. And I think this initiative should be replicated in all the assemblies in the Gonja Traditional Area.

Now,another burning issue that seem to overhand our common survival as species in this enclave is the harm that has already been done.Our land is now almost dare bare.We are dangerously exposed to the vagaries of the weather. Rainstorms, bad weather, erratic rainfalls, hard water ad infinitum are the order of the day. So are there plans to liaise with forestry commission and other stakeholders to embark on a massive tree planting exercise to cover up the lost and atone for our sins and huge cost? The service of students can easily be employed for this purpose. We in Damongo Youth Parliament are also available to lead this crusade. Just resource and give us the support. Let’s do something now for our environment and our future.To secure the once upon a time rich agrarian land in Damongo is the way to go.

Critical among the issues we should be probing is the faith of the possible hands that will be laid idle through this swift intervention.Won’t the devil find work for the idle hands?What are plans to beef up security to counter any possible rise in “deliberate” or “situational” crime that may rear its ugly nose and face into our daily affairs?Thankfully,the government of Akufo-Addo has promised to create enough avenues for youth employment.We pray our district Youth Employment Agency offices are resourced,equipped and given the opportunity to employ and empower as many youth as possible.So no need to talk about the challenge of possible unemployment or employment through these illegal activities .

At least, the minister of Environment, Science and Technology under the auspices of the Akufo-Addo government has constituted a committee to find possible and alternative means of livelihood for those involved in the galamsey business. (Let’s hope this opportunity trickle down to us here). Least i forget, these twin evils have also brought in perceived aliens or outsiders who basically depended on same for survival. Now the activities are curtailed, will they stay back and do farming, or will they return to their various destinations or worse still, they will spy on our society as potential security threat and liabilities? I’m also told our assemblies were at the mercy of these illegalities to generate IGF…My jumping Judas! So will the cessation affect the financial strength of our assemblies? What are plans towards alternative means of revenue generation and expanded IGF for our assemblies? The DCE of WGDA has made his point clear: I don’t need such money. I better depend on my common fund than,….So let’s look out for ways to mobilise revenue to support the operation of our assemblies.

Until we start addressing some of these challengers, it’s early days yet to jubilate over anything.
On on, we strive for community survival. The way continue to remain forward!
May the good lord bless us all.

The writer is a teacher by profession,a freelance journalist, youth advocate, blogger/writer and a student at the University of Ghana Business School pursuing Bachelor of Science in Administration with a major in Public Administration.
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(The Village Writer)

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