Queen mothers in the country have called on the government to involve them in tackling the issue of illegal mining, popularly called galamsey, which has bedeviled the country.
According to them, as mothers of the communities, they have the institutional structure for policy dialogue as well as policy engagement, capacity and legitimacy to engage in the public policy debate on all issues of public interest and concern.
“We note with disappointment that, on many of the engagements held so far, there have been no sustained attention to working closely with the actors at the local level and as if that was not enough like any other public engagements and policy dialogue, queen mothers have hardly been involved in the on-going efforts,” they said.
The Queen mothers who made these statements during a maiden national dialogue organised by the National Queen Mothers’ Platform and sponsored by Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) in Koforidua, called for their involvement, and stated that working together with them as leaders with diverse skills and capacity, was needed if the issues of illegal mining and other developmental issues would be addressed.
The event which brought queen mothers from across the country, and stakeholders in the mining sector, was held to enable them share ideas, and deliberate on issues pertaining to illegal mining and ascertain ways to contribute to stopping the menace in the country.
The National President of the National Queen Mothers’ Platform, Nana YaaAmposahDokua II, who spoke on their behalf, said the challenges that illegal mining has brought on local communities, especially on the environment, water, and forest reserves, among others cannot be overlooked.
“We have lived with the anxiety about threats of death caused by accidents in the illegal mining sites and in some cases, due to violent clashes and have observed in dismay, the failed attempts by state authorities, to stop illegal mining and prevent its negative impacts from happening,” she noted.
She said even though the National Queen Mothers’ have not been involved in any strategic engagements held so far, they have organised themselves to hold the national event to deliberate on the subject matter with the goal to contribute to the public debate and advocacy on the illegal menace.
Nana Dokua III said it was their hope that by contributing, they would reach a larger audience including the youth and other actors in the value chain of illegal mining and urged all stakeholders to contribute to resolving the underlying factors that perpetrate illegal mining.
They expressed appreciation to Konrad-Adenauer Stiftung for sponsoring the event.
For his part, the Executive Director of Rights of the Youth and Disability, James KwabenaBomfeh Junior said, there was the need to amend the chieftaincy laws to include queen mothers since they wield power and influence in their communities.
He stated that as women, they had special potential to be able to advance a certain course unrelentingly to success and called on the government and stakeholders to involve them.
Pic one…President of National Queen Mothers’ Platform, Nana Yaa Amponsah Dokua II,fourth counting from right in group pic with Rep for KAS, queen mothers and other stakeholders in the mining sector.