The youth of Tontokrom in the Amansie South District of the Ashanti Region are unhappy with the rate of unemployment in the area.
They believe the government has rejected them in its decision to establish the community mining flagship programme.
They indicate that all requests for the government to establish part of the programme in their community have proven unsuccessful.
The young people, who are currently unhappy with the unemployment situation, are getting fed up with their request and have resorted to issuing threats that they will resist any attempt to participate in the 2024 elections in their communities.
A few weeks ago, the youth staged a demonstration in the presence of the Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources in charge of Mining, George Mireku Duker, to demand their request.
They believe all assurances by authorities have not been granted.
“Our request to the Deputy Minister to have the Community Mining in our area has still not been granted. We have not heard from anyone since his assurance to us. When we visit the authorities, no one is telling us anything. Our MP, Yaw Frimpong, we have tried many times to engage him, but he appears not ready to help,” the angry youth indicated.
They lamented that even though they are Ghanaians and voters, the interest of foreign mining firms is being prioritized over theirs.
“We are Ghanaian voters and we are unemployed yet our authorities are rather protecting a foreign company in the area. We are telling them that, no Community Mining, No Vote. So, we won’t allow anyone to come here to campaign,” they indicated.
The spokesperson of the youth, Kwabena Animoyam, vowed that in the event the government fails to heed their call to establish the initiative, they will carry out their threat.
They have, therefore, given authorities up to the end of December 2023, to meet their demands.
Their threat comes after a series of clashes with a South African mining firm in the area.
They accuse operators of the mine of chasing them with armed security officers.
They believe the establishment of a community mining scheme in the area will bring an end to the clashes between the community and the mining company.
According to them, the Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, George Mireku Duker, had earlier this year promised to look into their concerns for subsequent action.
At a recent event to launch a Community mining project at Atwimanso in the Amansie West District, the youth numbering about 400 wielding various placards, stormed the programme to communicate their grievances to the Deputy Minister and requested the government to also extend the program to their community to curb the frightening unemployment rate.
They claim the Deputy Minister, before delivering his keynote address, took time to specifically address the Tontokrom youth and tasked the Member of Parliament together with the District Chief Executive (DCE) to ensure their issue is looked into.
But several months on, Mr Animoyam said, the youth are disappointed that no attempt has been made to look into the matter.
The youth leader blames the MP for Manso Adubia and a Deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture, Yaw Frimpong, for failing to pull strings together to ensure the implementation of the program.
“We have visited the MP many times however, his commitment level is not encouraging. He does not look like someone ready to engage the minister on our behalf meanwhile, he is the one we voted for and has the capacity. I visited him about three weeks ago at his office at the Ministry. He normally doesn’t have anything to say rather he is always pleading with us to exercise restraint.
“I paid a visit to the Deputy Minister but I met his absence. As for the DCE, Clement Opoku Gyamfi, he is ready to help but he cannot do much. We are only pleading with our MP to justify why he is our elected leader”, he said.
He said their situation is dire as development is lagging in the community.
According to him, their road network is nothing to write home about.
“Just a while ago, the Vice President used our roads for the campaign and he saw how deplorable our roads are. We have no jobs and we don’t want to engage in illegal mining, known as galamsey, but want Community Mining, so that is our only request.”
Government in 2019 launched the implementation of the Community Mining scheme in place of the destructive illegal mining popularly known as galamsey.
The aim is to create decent livelihoods for Ghanaians especially the youths, an initiative that hugely impacts lives in mining communities in the Ashanti, Western, and Eastern regions among others.