My govt will empower chiefs to protect our forests – Mahama

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My govt will empower chiefs to protect our forests – Mahama

 Chiefs to Collaborate with Forestry Commission for Enhanced Forest Protection

Former President John Dramani Mahama has affirmed his commitment to empower traditional authorities in managing and safeguarding forest reserves under his administration.

The assurance came in response to concerns raised by the Chief of Sefwi Wiawso in the Western North Region of Ghana, Okatakyie Kwasi Bumangama II, during Mr. Mahama’s ‘Building Ghana Together’ tour.

Chief Okatakyie Kwasi Bumangama II highlighted the perceived decline in the powers of traditional authorities to oversee forest reserves, emphasizing that the exclusive responsibility given to the Forestry Commission had led to increased environmental degradation, particularly due to illegal small-scale mining activities.

“The power to protect the forest is no longer with the chiefs; it has been given to the Forestry Commission. Previously, the management of the forests was entrusted into the hands of the chiefs, but that power has been taken away from us, and since then, the forest has been destroyed,”

noted Chief Okatakyie Kwasi Bumangama II during the interaction with Mr. Mahama.

In response, the former president acknowledged the challenges faced by traditional leaders and pledged to initiate legal reforms to empower chiefs in collaboration with the Forestry Commission. Mr. Mahama emphasized the need for a law that would grant authority to both chiefs and the Forestry Commission to jointly manage and protect the nation’s forests.

“If we come into office, we will have meetings with chiefs and see how best we can empower them to protect the forests. Government alone cannot protect the forest; sometimes officials even connive with the galamseyers to destroy the forest,”

stated Mr. Mahama.

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The commitment to collaborative governance in forest management reflects the former president’s recognition of the integral role chiefs play in preserving Ghana’s natural resources. The proposed legal reforms aim to restore authority to traditional leaders, fostering a more inclusive and effective approach to environmental protection.

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