Clergy: We visited galamsey sites on fact-finding tour, not to pray

The clergy came under severe backlash on social media over a viral video of them praying and singing praises at the sites for the illegal activities to cease

The Christian Ecumenical Bodies of Ghana have denied reports that the clergy visited galamsey sites in the Eastern Region last Friday to pray against the illegal menace.

Speaking on The Asaase Breakfast Show on Monday (17 October 2022), the president of the Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council (GPCC) Rev Prof Paul Frimpong Manso, said they went to the sites solely on a fact-finding mission.

The clergy came under severe backlash on social media over a viral video of them praying and singing praises at the sites for the illegal activities to cease.

Reacting to the claims, Rev Prof Manso described such conclusion as irresponsible.

“Some of your colleagues are irresponsible, destructive and they are a disaster to the profession,” he told the host Kwaku Nhyira-Addo. “I have been very angry this weekend to read that the pastors went there to pray.”

“These are the people who are nation wreckers. We can pray in our rooms and our churches and will not mobilise journalists to galamsey sites to go and pray. We are not children… The Bible says ‘you cannot talk about what you have never seen and heard’. We’ve seen a lot of things trending on social media and others. As a church we have fought individually and it’s not working, so we said we want to come as a collective body to ascertain the facts,” Rev Prof Manso said.

Purpose of visit

He said as religious leaders, it was incumbent on them to begin every activity with a prayer, so they decided to commit the day’s activity into the hands of God when they got to the site.

“The purpose was not to go and pray. We mobilised ourselves to the site and when we went there the first thing we did was to pray then followed by other things. But irresponsible journalists and irresponsible politicians who have lost their moral conscience come and be saying ‘this is not what to do’.

“We prayed before we did everything and that is the logic. We went there to ascertain the facts ahead of our press conference [today]. We went there to convey the right message to Ghanaians. And the message is that galamsey is a disaster,” he added.

Among the clergy who visited the sites were the immediate past chairman of the Christian Council of Ghana, Bishop Dr Paul Boafo, and the chairman of the Church of Pentecost, Ghana Apostle Eric Nyamekye.

Although Ghana requires permits to mine on a small scale, it is estimated that about 70% of small-scale miners are unregistered and operate illegally. They are known locally as galamsey, meaning to “gather and sell”.

While illegal mining supports livelihoods, it has caused severe damage to the environment. It is blamed for destruction of farmlands and pollution of water bodies. It also denies the state revenue: an estimated US$2.3 billion in 2016, reports The Conversation.

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