Support fight against Galamsey — Prof. Kwarteng to Chiefs


Traditional authorities have been called on to support government in the country’s fight against illegal mining, colloquially known as “galamsey”. This appeal was made by a Historian of Ghana and the Environment at the University of Cape Coast, Prof. Kwame Osei Kwarteng.

 He described as deeply disturbing the massive degradation of the vegetation and pollution of rivers and streams through galamsey and said traditional rulers owe it a duty to themselves and posterity to protect the forest and water bodies. 

Prof. Kwarteng made the observations while delivering his inaugural lecture on the topic: "The Ideological Square: A Historian’s Framework for Environmental Conservation.”

 Among others, he said government could not fight the menace alone without the involvement of traditional rulers, customarily regarded as custodians of land, and therefore, appealed to them to support government in ensuring a galamsey-free country.


Prof. Kwarteng with the College of Professors-UCC after his robing

To him, if traditional leaders desist from leasing lands to illegal miners, including Ghanaians and foreigners, it would be very difficult for the miners to access lands to carry out their nefarious activities.

 He maintained that galamsey operators, especially ‘the Chinese’, had resorted to the use of heavy machinery, mercury and cyanide in their operations, causing life threatening health challenges to many people.

 He stated that river bodies and streams were now rendered unfit for drinking and a typical example, according to him, was the River Tano. He noted that government working in concert with Nananom should factor in traditional conservation strategies into the planning of towns.

 “The Land Use and Spatial Planning Authority and Nananom should maintain the buffer zone of hundred metres or more between river bodies and settlements,” he said.

A section of participants in the inaugural lecture

To conserve and preserve the environment, Prof. Kwarteng asked traditional overlords to destool sub-chiefs who blatantly engage in indiscriminate sale of lands to illegal miners.

He advised traditional rulers to remain resolute and refuse signing indentures for mining leases that do not provide comprehensive environmental impact assessment. 

Prof. Kwarteng, however, charged chiefs to report illegal miners to the security agencies to make sure that all offenders were dealt with by the laws of the land.

Prof. Kwarten being congratulated by the Manwrahen of Oguaa Traditional Area, Nana Kweku Enu. Looking on are other chiefs who graced the occasion.

He called for the useful Akan customs, practices and laws such as Awukudae and Akwasidae which had functionally degenerated over time, in order to maintain its legitimacy and reverence in the Ghanaian society to protect the environment.

Profile: Prof. Kwame Osei Kwarteng

•Born in 1965

• Had his primary and middle education at Gyetiase Local Authority Primary School and the Mim Methodist School

• Attended Ahafo Secondary Technical School and was later transferred to Sunyani Secondary School for both the Ordinary and the Advanced levels.

• Gained admission to UCC to pursue a Bachelor of Arts Degree and Diploma in Education in History and Religious Studies.

• Taught as a professional teacher at Kumasi Senior High School from 1992-1999

•Had M.Phil at UCC

•Appointed as Assistant Lecturer at UCC in 2001

•Had his PhD at the University of Birmingham, UK.

•Served as Chairman of the Board of Governors of Mfantsiman Girls' SHS at Saltpond from 2012-2017

•Currently serving as the Chairman of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NaCCA)

• Led two separate teams of academics to write the History of UCC in 2022 for the celebration of its 60th anniversary and the History of Ghana Heritage Conservation Trust in 2023 for the celebration of the organisation's Silver Jubilee

•Currently, a member of the newly- constituted Governing Board of Ghana National College.

•Supervised and trained two PhDs and eight MPhil students at the Department of History-UCC.

•Until October 2017, he served as President of University Teachers Association-UCC and a member of the UCC Governing Council.

•Appointed as Full Professor in 2019

•Appointed the Provost of the College of Humanities and Legal Studies in 2022

• Married to Mrs. Comfort Osei Kwarteng and blessed with three children: two ladies and a gentleman

•Staunch Christian and a member of the Harvest Chapel International Church

•Delivered Inaugural Lecture on the topic: "The Ideological Square: A Historian's Framework for Environmental Conservation."


Source: Documentation and Information Section-UCC