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Captain Maxwell Mahama, a young commander of a military detachment on a mission to curb illegal mining in a part of the country that had been under siege by this canker, was lynched and his body set ablaze by residents allegedly on suspicion he was an armed robber. His painful death threw the country into a state of shock with a large section of the public condemning the dastardly act.

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Oh no!
What have we done?
why did we do it?
he was so young, full of life
brave and selfless
so loving, a doting husband
a caring father, a patriot in uniform

What have we done
Like fickle wind
so sudden
we snuff out his life
with sticks, stones, missiles

He could have shot his way to life
the mob but child play
he who wielded missiles of justice and peace
but opting to be the sacrificial lamb
on the alter of galamsey

What have we done?
we decorate and garnish
our greed and avarice
we gloss our wanton desecration
of all that we hold sacred
with paints dripping sugar and bile

words, words and words
all meaningless
even as we sleep with the Chinese
on beds crusted in gold
dredged from the pits of earth
oh yes, on golden beds
we sell our youth, our future, our souls

And Maxwell, beautiful Maxwell
the sacrificial lamb
on the alter of galamsey
the hero who has become the blight
on our nation’s conscience

Rest, Maxwell Rest. So long!

ยฉ Celestine Nudanu

  • Galamseyย  –ย  local term for illegal mining activities in Ghana

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