A video spotted by YEN.com.gh on Facebook of the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, apportioning blames and praises in the wake of the re-opening of the Obuasi mines has generated a lot of public discussions.
The video was posted in the later hours of Tuesday, January 22, 2018, by the Director of Communications at the Presidency, Eugene Arhin.
The Asante chieftain who is not usually one to point fingers in matters of political relevance is seen in the video narrating his experience with trying to get the mine working again. Speaking in his native tongue of Twi, the Asantehene decried what he feels was a neglect of the mines after operations were shut down in 2014. As transcribed here, this is what the Asanehene had to say: “It is both an occasion of happiness and sadness that we are gathered here to re-open the Obuasi mines…
“I was told four or five years ago by the investors that the Obuasi mines was no longer viable. I was also told that ‘galamsey men’ [illegal miners] were taking advantage of the situation and mining in the lands. “I approached the government of the day to help resolve the matter.
But I was told they would not let soldiers go there and shoot people like it happened in South Africa.” “I was even told they are ready to sell the place and give me just $1. I told them I was going to wait until a good time in the future.
Now I am happy Akufo-Addo’s government has made this reopening possible.” The Asantehene’s speech has undoubtedly sparked debate over whether it was right for him to have intimated his disappointment with the erstwhile government of John Mahama. Earlier, YEN.com.gh reported that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has re-opened the AngloGold Ashanti gold mine in Obuasi, which had been effectively closed since 2014. This is in apparent fulfilment of a campaign pledge he made to the people of Obuasi in the run-up to the 2016 general elections.