The governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) says the burning of illegal mining (galamsey) equipment has become necessary to put an end to the act before it spirals out of control.
It has noted that the move will prevent the repetitive destructive behaviour by illegal miners in the country.
The Director of Communications of the party, Yaw Buaben Asamoa, in a statement noted that even though strong arguments had been made against the outright burning of illegal equipment near river bodies and forest reserves, the government had been compelled to resort to such radical measures to save the country.
He noted that mining regulations management and enforcement, reach of courts, policing, advocacy and self-restraint through representative associations, had fallen short in curbing the menace.
“The state is enforcing through burning because it must necessarily do so if it is to turn the tide in the short term whilst strengthening traditional regulatory measures in the medium to long term.
“As has often been repeated by H.E the President, he does not intend to stop the age-old business of artisanal mining, but its highly destructive modern version must necessarily be stopped with all the authority and force the state commands,” Mr Buaben Asamoa added.
The NPP Communications Director further said that “the key argument is that extraordinary measures overriding current legal rights are permissible if the intent and action is in the line of duty and will preserve larger public interests.”
Mr Buaben Asamoa admitted that even though there will be innocent victims in the government’s actions, he noted that “the likelihood of innocent victims ought not to stop the state from exerting its authority in the interest of preserving our common heritage, be it in the cleaning of Accra or battling galamsey.”
Rule of law
Meanwhile, the NPP Communications Director has also noted that the President is committed to protecting rule of law in the country. Referring to President Nana Akufo-Addo’s address to the Ghana Bar Association in September 2018, he indicated that the President is keenly aware of the country’s capacities and what must be done to bring Ghana up to speed.
“The President is being accused of impunity for trying hard to enforce rules that people routinely ignore. Yet, this is the President who has opened up the most space in the political governance arena. He is a known advocate of media rights, representing journalists in court, helping repeal criminal libel, passing Right to Information legislation and speaking to the press regularly. He has overseen an explosion in social media, attracting both Google and Twitter. Nana Addo does not have the right, authority, capacity or inclination to stop the media from doing its legitimate work. All he wants is mutual responsibility and accountability for our actions,” he pointed out.
Among other things the President has done to protect the rule of law, Mr Buaben Asamoa said, is his tolerance for political debate in the nearly two years of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) protests against the Electoral Commission (EC), as well as quietly supporting the entire election budget from the government resources.
“Significantly, he has also set up the most empowered institution to deal with political impunity. With our goodwill, the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) will perhaps be the most enduring legacy of President Akufo-Addo, rivalling the mass spread of literacy that the educational reforms will bring,” he added.
Mr Buaben Asamoa warned against the lack of self-restraint within the populace, saying “if not addressed resolutely, it will overwhelm every progressive initiative of the government.”
He expressed dissatisfaction with the attitude of the citizenry to quickly question every necessary method to address an issue the public is concerned about.
He cited a major clean up exercise by the Greater Accra Regional Minister, in response to complaints about a clean Accra, and “immediately, his methods, some of which are necessary, are questioned when the affected people are mostly breaking the law and rules with impunity.”