Deputy General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Barbara Asamoah has condemned President Nana Akufo-Addo’s justification of the burning of heavy equipment belonging to persons suspected to be illegal miners.
The former deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources under the Mahama administration in an interview with Power News indicated that the president goofed and must come again on his position.
Akufo-Addo said the burning of equipment used for the pollution of water bodies and forest reserves will not cease till the criminal acts are halted.
President Akufo-Addo on Wednesday, May 26, 2021, asked persons who are dissatisfied with his government’s approach in clamping down on illegal miners, particularly the burning of excavators and other equipment to “go to court to vindicate their position”.
Reiterating his commitment to fighting the menace, Akufo-Addo said, “I know there are some who believe that the ongoing exercise of ridding our water bodies and forest zones of harmful equipment and machinery is unlawful and in some cases harsh.”
“I strongly disagree, and I will advise those who take a contrary view to go to court to vindicate their position if they so wish. That is what the rule of law is all about,”the president added.
But reacting to the government’s position, Madam Asamoah said the president’s justification was worrying and disappointing.
“The one who wrote his speech did a great disservice to him [Akufo-Addo]…That is not the way to deal with the menace,” she argued.
She explained that the earth-moving machines could be seized and used to the benefit of the country, stressing that the Mahama administration changed its strategy after burning a few excavators.
“When we bought some excavators and we were told that was a wrong approach, we dealt with the menace in accordance with the law but what President Akufo-Addo is endorsing is unjustifiable,” she noted.
NDC Youth Angry
Meanwhile the Yuth Wing of the NDC has criticized the government for the act, describing the burning of excavators by the ‘Operation Halt II’ as dangerous and reckless.
A statement issued on Thursday, May 27, 2021, signed by the National Youth Organizer of the NDC George Opare Addo said the position of the President is contrary to the laws of the country.
“… We find this development worrying and an affront to reasonable expectations, that in 2021, the only solution available to tackle galamsey is the burning of excavators.”
“The President’s speech must not be taken lightly. It is an endorsement of lawless behaviour without recourse to the laws of our land. The law does not say burn them, so for a lawyer who happens to be President to ask that excavators are burnt is unbelievable, and rightly so because he knows the courts will not go contrary to his claims”.
The statement continued “this is dangerous for our democracy if our president can blatantly disregard our laws. And prescribe his own form of punishment. Now he makes laws for us and he can amend the laws of Ghana”.
Opare Addo said the burning of these excavators and other heavy-duty machinery is “yet another example of the thoughtlessness and lack of innovation displayed by the Akufo Addo led administration” adding that the government’s approach to dealing with the menace is ” lame and demonstrates the government’s inability to take initiative in problem-solving”
“The issue of Galamsey must not be tackled in the arena of political rhetoric, an arena the President is all too familiar with. Burning of these excavators and mining machinery will only deal with the issue at hand in the interim. It lacks the determination and resolve to hold off galamsey operators in the long term. Every excavator has a chassis number registered in the name of a person. Every Land that is being mined on has an owner. Let’s trace and go after these persons and prosecute them rather than this lame and lazy approach of burning excavators”