President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is perpetrating illegality because there is no law in Ghana that warrants, mandates or authorises the burning of excavators in the small-scale mining sector, former Lands and Natural Resources Minister Alhaji Inusah Fuseini has said.
According to Mr Fuseini, it is disappointing that the President, who is also a lawyer of many years’ experience and in good standing at the Bar, would justify such illegality instead of upholding the laws of the country.
Speaking at a sod-cutting ceremony for the construction of the Law Village Project in Accra on Wednesday, 26 April 2021, President Akufo-Addo asked Ghanaians who disagree with his approach of burning excavators and equipment in his fight against galamsey to proceed to court for redress.
The President 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 would 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 Ghana Law Reports of modern times are littered with cases in which my clients thought it necessary to challenge government action. On the majority of occasions, the courts upheld my contentions, in a few others, they did not.
The rule of law, he said “does not recognise social status, religious persuasion, political affiliation, ethnic origins or regional adherence” but “merely the law and precedent, the ancient common law doctrine of stare decisis”.
Reacting to this on news analysis programme 505 on Class91.3FM on Wednesday, 26 May 2021, Mr Fuseini said Nana Akufo-Addo would have been summoned before parliament in some jurisdictions because his approach is illegal.
The former Member of Parliament for Tamale Central said: “I’m so disappointed because this is a president who swore on the Bible to uphold the laws of the country including the constitution of the country and to protect lives and property. This is the president who swore that oath”.
“Now there’s no law in Ghana that warrants, mandates, authorises the burning of excavators in the small scale mining sector and specifically, the laws that deal with mining in Ghana is the Minerals and Mining Act and in the amendment to the act, we have detailed as a country about seven steps that can be taken to deal with illegal small-scale mining”.
“I believe that if those steps are followed clearly, it will serve as enough disincentive for people who are bent on carrying on that illegal activity. But be as it may, I don’t think the president can use his executive authority under Article 58 of the Constitution to justify illegality.”
Alhaji Fuseini noted that the president’s statement would have warranted an impeachment in advanced democracies.
“In fact, elsewhere, the president would have been summoned before parliament in the British system to answer why he’s flouting the laws of the country and in some jurisdictions, clearly, the statement that the president has made would have exposed him to impeachment proceedings because you can’t swear to uphold the laws of the country and also be acting with impunity, you can’t do that and that’s why I’m disappointed”.
“The president is not only the president of this country, he’s a lawyer of many years’ experience and in good standing at the Bar and he should be seen to be upholding the laws of the country and encouraging people to uphold the laws of the country,” the former lawmaker said.