The small scale mining community of Ghana has announced that its members are hitting the campaign trail to canvas votes for the Presidential Candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Dramani Mahama.
Congregating behind a banner they call the National Concerned Small-Scale Miners Association of Ghana (NCSSMAG), they have vowed to sway at least one million votes for John Mahama and the NDC to enable the party to unseat President Akufo-Addo and the NPP.
Today, NCSSMAG donated 1,200 pickups to the campaign of John Mahama and the NDC as a token of their commitment.
“We have committed one thousand two hundred (1,200) pickup vehicles at the full expense of the NCSSMAG to touch base with at least one million non-member small scale miners at their various mining sites to sell to them the message of the NDC,” the Association said in a statement.
Its President, Michael Kwadwo Peprah, has since also been explaining that the Association’s plan of campaign is to convince every small scale miner, their family members, their friends and third party businesses which have been affected by the Akufo-Addo government’s destruction of their source of livelihood to fall behind the campaign to re-elect John Mahama.
He said they are putting together a task force to visit all small-scale mining sites to convince miners, their households, and their friends, vote for the NDC.
In addition to the 1,200 pickups they say they have put at the disposal of the NDC and its flagbearer, NCSSMAG will deploy other vehicles during election day itself to help convey people to voting centers.
Mr. Kwadwo Peprah explains that their decision to help the NDC arises from the fact that, “we are not fools. If you are making a decision, you look to see if it will help you progress. We all helped the NPP to come to power and when the government came, it said it wanted to fight galamsey. We are not illegal miners and so we are not the ones expected to be affected by the fight against galamsey. Then we realized no, the government did not intend to fight galamsey. The fight against galamsey was an avenue for some high-ups in government to seize the properties of small scale miners and share them among themselves and their family members,” he said in a radio interview monitored by WhatsUp News.
Mr. Peprah continued, “We realized government officials were diverting our machines, so we sued the government… In the period that they had seized our machines, Chinese were allowed to work, but for us Ghanaians we were beaten and maltreated. We petitioned President Akufo-Addo. He did nothing. We had taken loans for our work and the banks were pursuing us so we wrote to the government to please intervene with the bank, speak to the banks for us, the government refused.”
He recounted their overtures towards the NPP, “We met with them at Takoradi Atlantic hotel before the NPP’s Manifesto launch and told them that they should let us know about their policy plans for our work so that if there are any additions that we can make, we make. They told us to go and that they would call us later. When it was time for manifestio launch they did not invite us and so we went on our own. That was when we realized they have nothing on small scale mining in their manifesto. So we realized that this government, which we helped to bring to power just intends to destroy our source of livelihood.”
The frustrated miners said they had compared and contrasted the manifestos of the two main political parties and have concluded that the NDC had better plans for them.