Below is the full petitionWe, the undersigned, representing the above listed associations and citizens of Nzema, call on the President to remove Mr. Kwasi Bonzoh as DCE of Ellembelle on the following grounds.
Deterioration in Adamus Resources and Community Relations resulting in deathsThe DCE has been ineffective in handling the deteriorating conflict between Adamus Resources and the Communities on whose land Adamus has its concessions. In fact, over the past four years, there has been four deaths associated with Adamus Resources in the community. In all of these, the DCE has been unable to ensure that there is peaceful settlement. Earlier in April 2021, a sixteen-year-old drowned in an abandoned Adamus /Community Mining pit at Teleku Bokazo. This incident was not fully resolved. In December 2021, a young man, Micheal Derry, alias Budu, was burnt on Adamus concession by Adamus Security, resulting in his death at Korle Bu Teaching Hospital While this issue was yet to be fully resolved, in April 2022, an even bigger broil ensued between the same company and youth in the community (whose entire community is an Adamus Concession), resulting in the shooting death of a bystander, Andrews Donkor. The DCE’s approach in resolving this problem has been one sided, supporting the Company and unleashing the force of law enforcement on the youth in the community, rather than acknowledge the unfortunate killing of the young man and seeking a resolution of the underlying problem – ie the giving out of entire communities as concessions such that locals are now “illegal” on their own land.
Wanton Environmental Destruction in EllembelleWhile the DCE purports to be fighting illegal mining (Galamsey) in Ellembelle, his tenure has seen the worst mining related destruction in the district. From the near destruction of Nkroful Agricultural Senior High School (The DCE’s own Alma Mater), digging up of several communities resulting in gullies, some in the middle of town that has claimed lives, to the destruction of River Subile, the iconic river that is made famous in the autobiography of Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s First President, Ellembelle’s level of environmental devastation has been unprecedented. The communities of Teleku Bokazo, Anwia, Nkroful, Asenda, Aiyinasi, Esiama among others, have open pits scattered around, a phenomenon that poses a huge safety risk to citizens, especially women and children who go to farm in these areas. So far, we see no effort on the part of the DCE to have these destroyed lands restored or the pits filled for the safety of citizens.
Destruction at Ewereko, Aiyinasi NorthThe straw that broke the camel’s back is the recent destruction we have all witnessed at Ewereko, a community in Aiyinasi North. In disregard of the Minerals Commission’s own procedures that enjoin the Minerals Commission and the District Assembly to publish any applications for stakeholders to share feedback on any area purported to be given out as a concession, the Ellembelle District Assembly, under the leadership of DCE Kwasi Bonzoh failed to do such a thing.
Mr. Kwasi BonzohHe rather led Pekinpat Company to Ewereko after speaking with a few elders, and without fully assessing the impact of the proposed action of the company on the community, watched on while acres of Cocoa and other farms were destroyed by the said company. In his defense of the irresponsible act of the company (whose exploration license did not match with the “full scale mining” they had embarked on), the DCE indicated that “Once someone comes with a license from Accra, he as the DCE has no authority to prevent them from doing their work”. This position shows a fundamental lack of understanding of his role as the head of government in the district of Ellembelle. Hence the need for his immediate removal as we fear that this position risks putting the entire landscape of Ellembelle in danger of irresponsible mining by anyone who shows up with a license.
Lack of Accountability to Citizens of EllembelleSince assuming office, DCE Bonzoh has failed to be accountable to the people. Requests for information and for engagement from constituents have usually fallen on deaf years. For instance, a request for a list of all companies with license to mine in Ellembelle made in April 2021 is yet to be honored. Not even a note acknowledging receipt of the letter was sent to those who made that request. Similarly, several requests to the DCE by citizens either for answers to specific or general issues of concern have been met with silence at best and in some cases, pure disdain.
Lack of action on Sargassum invasionOver the past ten years, Sargassaum seaweed has been a recurring feature on the shores of the West Coast of Ghana, including Ellembelle district. Between August and December 2021, the community witnessed the largest invasion yet of these seaweeds on our shores.
Seaweeds in the Ellembelle areaFor weeks, fishing activity, which is the backbone of the local economy came to a halt, resulting in severe economic hardship. In all of these, the DCE and the assembly in general pretended not to have seen anything. They looked on unconcerned and left the coastal communities on their own until the seaweed decayed and sunk unto the shoreline. As we write, this has now become almost a monthly affair, and yet there is still no meaningful response from the assembly in spite of several attempts to get them to put an action plan in place.